Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The New Year and Jung’s Stages of Life

by Erel Shalit

C.G. Jung introduced the idea of studying and defining the goals of the second half of life. Daniel Levinson thus considered him “the father of the modern study of adult development.”[1]

Jung originally published his essay ‘The Stages of Life’ in 1930,[2] about twenty years before Erikson drew his epigenetic chart of psychosocial development. Jung emphasized the contrary directions of man’s focus during the first and second halves of life. Whereas in the first part of life, the development of a firm ego that takes its foothold in the world predominates, in the second part of life, the individual must turn toward Self and spirit.

‘The Stages of Life’ appeared in 1933 in Jung’s book Modern Man in Search of a Soul. It had initially been published as ‘Die seelische Probleme der menschlichen Alterstufen’ in Neue Zürcher Zeitung in 1930, but was later revised. His ideas regarding the stages of life will be our point of departure and guiding light throughout our discourse.

When Jung set out to “discuss the problems connected with the stages of life,” he devoted several pages of this brief essay to discuss the notion of problem. He claims that problem is the kernel of culture and consciousness. “There are no problems without consciousness,” says Jung. Confronting a problem instigates toward consciousness, and due to the development of consciousness, problems come into existence.[3] Furthermore, Jung emphasizes the psychological truth that serious problems can never be fully resolved—if they appear to be, then “something has been lost.” The meaning as well as the purpose of problems lie not in their solution but, rather, in being constantly worked on.[4] Similarly, happiness and welfare do not lie in wait to be found at the end of the rainbow, but are aspects of the process and of our attitude, with sadness and misery appropriate company at times of pain, difficulty and loss. The journey entails both the road we take and how we take that road, our conscious attitude.

Unmistakably, Jung’s conceptualization of the stages of life pertains to living the conscious life.


The first stage of life concerns the child’s evolving consciousness, which is based on perceiving the connection between different psychic contents. However, lacking a continuous memory in early childhood, consciousness is sporadic, rather like “single lamps or lighted objects in the far-flung darkness.”[5] Only when there is continuity of ego-memories does the ego-complex constellate, with a budding sense of subjective identity, whereby the child comes to speak of itself in first person.

Problems arise, says Jung, with the psychic birth and “conscious differentiation from the parents” in puberty.[6] This is not only an external process. By internalization, the external limitations become internal divisions, for instance, between opposing impulses. That is, the rise of consciousness both creates and is the result of an inner division between the ego and the perceived other—whether that other is an internal instinct or an external object, an autonomous complex detracting energy from the ego, or a split-off shadow.

The period of youth entails the transition from what Jung considers to be the dream of an essentially problem-free childhood to the harsh demands of life. The problem may be external, due, for instance, to “exaggerated expectations, underestimation of difficulties, unjustified optimism, or a negative attitude.” Nevertheless, problems unmistakably may arise, as well, from internal conflicts and disturbances in the psychic equilibrium; Jung mentions the sexual instinct and feelings of inferiority.[7]

It is in youth, says Jung, that the individual needs to recognize and accept “what is different and strange as a part of his own life,” in spite of the desire to cling “to the childhood level of consciousness,”[8] that is, a wish to avoid unpleasure, and to regress into a conflict-free existence.[9]

Achievement and usefulness, says Jung, “are the lodestars that guide us … to strike our roots in the world,” to find a place in society, which is essential in the first half of life. Development of a wider consciousness, “which we give the name of culture,”[10] is left, however, for a later stage in life. Therefore, while the child struggles to shape its individual ego, the aim in youth—or young adulthood—is to gain a place in society.

Jung’s main concern as expressed in this essay is the arrival at midlife. “The social goal,” he says, “is attained only at the cost of a diminution of personality. Many—far too many—aspects of life which should also have been experienced lie in the lumber-room among dusty memories; but sometimes, too, they are glowing coals under grey ashes.”[11]

Jung notes that around the age of forty, a slow process of character-change takes place. Interests and inclinations alter. Simultaneously, however, moral principles tend to harden and grow rigid, “as if the existence of these principles were endangered and it were therefore necessary to emphasize them all the more.”[12]

Jung ascribed the neurotic disturbances of adults to the common desire to prolong youth, and a reticence to crossing the threshold into maturity. The neurotic is someone “who can never have things as he would like them in the present.”[13] Typically, the neurotic person projects the cause of his suffering onto the past or the future, and we often hear him or her say, “if only this or that would/would not have happened,” or “if only … then …” The cult of youth and the widespread difficulty of accepting old age, typify the pathology of our era.

The fear of midlife is not of death, claims Jung, but of the sun’s descent, which means “the reversal of all the ideals and values that were cherished in the morning. … The sun ... draw[s] in its rays instead of emitting them. Light and warmth decline and are at last extinguished.”[14]

However, it seems to me that ultimately the fishing rod of midlife fears does indeed dip into the lake of death, when light and warmth are extinguished. This, then, may be compensated by, for instance, what for many may be a reassuring faith and belief in existence after death, or, alternatively, the ambition to live a meaningful life. In his essay ‘The Soul and Death,’ published in 1934, Jung does state that,
From the middle of life onward, only he remains vitally alive who is ready to die with life. For in the secret hour of life’s midday the parabola is reversed, death is born. The second half of life does not signify ascent, unfolding, increase, exuberance, but death, since the end is its goal.[15]
The challenge in midlife is to come to terms with hitherto neglected features, sometimes conflicting with one’s conscious attitude and recognized values. Jung mentions, as well, how bodily characteristics of the opposite sex can be discerned in the older person.

The psychological and biological changes that a person undergoes in the second half of life may thus blur the distinction between male and female traits, though this may be a far cry from the erotic character of juvenile androgyny. Consequently, the man must now put his feminine substance to use, and, says Jung, the woman “her hitherto unused supply of masculinity.”[16] According to Jung’s Weltanschauung, certainly influenced by the Zeitgeist, the spirit of his time, he associated the masculine with logos and the feminine with Eros.

Thus, in midlife it may happen that “the husband discovers his tender feelings and the wife her sharpness of mind.”[17] These changes are dramatic and, says Jung, may lead to marital catastrophe. If so, I suppose that the wife’s sharpness of mind may be more threatening to the man, than showing his tender feelings would pose a danger to his wife.[18]

Jung expressed the essence of midlife transition beautifully when he says that, “what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”[19]

In the second half of life, man must withdraw from external preoccupations, and seriously prepare for old age, death and eternity—which amounts to a (not necessarily formal) religious attitude. “An old man who cannot bid farewell to life appears as feeble and sickly as a young man who is unable to embrace it,” says Jung sharply and poetically.[20] Rhetorically he wonders if not culture, beyond the nature to which family and children pertain, is the “meaning and purpose of the second half of life.”[21]

To sum up, Jung’s ideas on the stages of life pertain to the development of consciousness as it manifests in the life cycle. The essence lies in the problem that faces the individual at each stage; a problem less to be resolved, but rather to be confronted and challenged. Jung thus emphasizes life as a process of becoming conscious, which transforms the experience of life into a living experience.

As the individual traverses the arc of life, he or she may be resistant to the problems posed by each transition, such as an expanding ego consciousness; striking roots in society; confronting the decline and integrating the opposites, including those of gender; and then death and eternity. Jung says that, “the art of life is the most distinguished and rarest of all the arts.”[22] For some travelers along the journey of life, the art of life becomes increasingly conceptual, for others more and more esthetic; for some minimalistic, for others increasingly abstract.

The second half of life should not merely be a repetition of one’s youth and young adulthood, but rather a period that enables integration by accentuating those matters of one’s psyche that have not been taken care of well enough.

Jung divides life into four parts. The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey elaborates on the respective stages less from a developmental perspective, but rather as an effort to extract the archetypal images at the core of each age.

[1]The Seasons of a Man’s Life, p. 4.
[2] Carl Gustav Jung, The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, vol. 8, par. 749-795. NOTE: CW refers throughout to The Collected Works of C. G. Jung.
[3]  CW 8, par. 750, 754.
[4]  CW 8, par. 770.
[5]  CW 8, par. 755.
[6]  CW 8, par. 756.
[7]  CW 8, par. 761, 762.
[8]  CW 8, par. 764.
[9]  Cf. Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, SE 18. The word unpleasure is “used to translate the German ‘Unlust,’ the pain or discomfort of instinctual tension, as opposed to ‘Schmertz,’ the sensation of pain. The pleasure principle is correctly the pleasure-unpleasure principle.” (Charles Rycroft, A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, p. 174).
[10]  CW 8, par. 769.
[11]  CW 8, par. 772.
[12]  CW 8, par. 773.
[13]  CW 8, par. 776.
[14]  CW 8, par. 778.
[15]  CW 8, par. 800.
[16]  CW 8, par. 782.
[17]  CW 8, par. 783.
[18]  As in some other instances, Jung’s formulation here is quite archaic. Sharpness of mind is not egodystonic to women, whether young or old. Also, many a young man today need not wait till midlife to expose his tender feelings.
[19]  CW 8, par. 784.
[20]  CW 8, par. 792.
[21]  CW 8, par. 787.
[22]  CW 8, par. 789.


Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fisher King publishes another Master: Alvaro Cardona-Hine

the song less/on

A book of poetry by Alvaro Cardona-Hine

“Some of the best ever written . . .” 

--Tom McGrath in The National Guardian 

reviewing the haiku in The Gathering Wave.

“Cardona-Hine is far more tuned to silence than Eliot; there are no phases to his theology. He offers no disciplines, nor even Zen vacancies; he offers arrivals . . . This gentle poet has little to do with the hysterical attenuated surrealism which has in recent years dominated the better little magazines. Or with archetypes of the Great Mother or other theorizing . . . It is understandable that poets want to move out into the universe, to dream of being moles, to sink into mineral veins, to make wild dissociated images that dissolve the self. But Cardona-Hine preserves the sense of human self-hood, human wonder, adventure.”
–Benjamin Saltzman in Kayak 
reviewing Words On Paper.

Alvaro Cardona-Hine was born in Costa Rica in 1926 and was brought to the United States by his parents in 1939. By 1945 he was writing poetry then went on to translate Cesar Vallejo, write novels, make a living as a painter, and compose music which has been performed in various parts of the country. He is the recipient of an NEA grant, a Bush Foundation Fellowship and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant. He lives with his wife, the poet and painter Barbara McCauley, in the small village of Truchas, in New Mexico, where the two manage their own gallery.

Product Details
* Paperback: 170 pages
* Publisher: il piccolo editions; First edition (Jan 1, 2013)
* Language: English
* ISBN-13: 978-1926715889
* www.fisherkingpress.com

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Climate Change: A Jungian Perspective

A Jungian Perspective on the Most Important Issue of Our Time—Climate Change

by Dennis L. Merritt, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, Ecopsychologist

(This talk was given at the Fordham conference, Jung in the Academy and Beyond: The Fordham Lectures 100 Years Later, held at Fordham University on October 26 and 27, 2012. It will be published in the Proceedings)

As Bill Clinton might say, “It's the environment, stupid!” Our devotion to science, technology and the capitalist system has culminated in a unique moment in the human relationship with the environment. Our species is at or near the peak of a prosperity bubble about to burst. We have exceeded the carrying capacity of the biosphere and we are still breeding. (1) We are overusing antibiotics and deadly bacteria are becoming immune to everything we have. (2) We are mining our precious water resources (3), coral reefs are dying as the oceans become warmer and more acidic (4), and most alarming, we are experiencing this as the very beginnings of the negative consequences of climate change. It will include massive droughts and floods, freak storms, the spread of diseases (5), famine, water wars (6), and the elimination of 30 to 50% of the species. (7) Experts tell us we may have but 10 years max to turn the Titanic around with regard to the most devastating aspects of climate change. (8) The apocalyptic conditions we are inexorably moving towards are truly in the archetypal domain, requiring an archetypal analysis and suggestions for dealing with it. Enter Jungian ecopsychology, a topic I have been writing on for the past 16 years, having just published the third of the 4 volumes of The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe—Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology.   READ MORE

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

News Release - Just Published - The Book of Now


The Book of Now: 
Poetry for the Rising Tide

edited by Leah Shelleda

It is an honor to be the publisher of The Book of Now: Poetry for the Rising Tide. To Anita Endrezze, Crystal Good, Dunya Mikhail, Frances Hatfield, Jane Downs, Leah Shelleda, and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, I would like to express my sincere gratitude, for allowing Fisher King Press to publish poets of such venerated caliber. It is my hope that your mighty voices encompass the entire world and your messages reach and touch the hearts of humanity as a whole. It is my hope that your most worthy offerings are genuinely received and deeply understood.
-- Mel Mathews, Publisher, Fisher King Press

Seven lyrical women poets, each accompanied by a study of their work, navigate our contemporary world. They travel to the depths of the psyche, experience exile, rhapsodize on the beauty of our planet, lament loss and celebrate renewal. These poets write courageously on what threatens us: climate change, war, mountain-top removal, loss of species, environmental damage, the scourge of cancer. They are witnesses, ‘Couriers’ who bring us their visions. As the tide rises they reach out to us in deeply personal and clear voices, each providing a unique experience in contemporary poetry.

The Book of Now: Poetry for the Rising Tide
* Paperback: 110 pages
* Publisher: il piccolo editions; First edition (Nov 1, 2012)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 192671590X
* ISBN-13: 978-1926715902

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hermes, Ecopsychology, Complexity Theory

Nov. 1, 2012 - Just Published:
Hermes, Ecopsychology, Complexity Theory: 
The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe Volume III
by Dennis L. Merritt

“Who ever does not shy away from dangers of the most profound depths and the newest pathways, which Hermes is always prepared to open, may follow and reach, whether as scholar, commentator, or philosopher, a greater find and a more certain possession.”  —Karl Kerenyi

An exegesis of the myth of Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle and the story of Hephaestus trapping Aphrodite and Ares in the act are used in The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe Volume III to set a mythic foundation for Jungian ecopsychology. Hermes, Ecopsychology, and Complexity Theory illustrates Hermes as the archetypal link to our bodies, sexuality, the phallus, the feminine, and the earth. Hermes’ wand is presented as a symbol for ecopsychology. The appendices of this volume develop the argument for the application of complexity theory to key Jungian concepts, displacing classical Jungian constructs problematic to the scientific and academic community. Hermes is described as the god of ecopsychology and complexity theory.

The front cover image is from a photo taken by the author of detail on an Attic Greek calyx krater by Euxitheos (potter) and Euphronios (painter) ca. 515 BCE. The gap between the horn-like extensions atop Hermes’ staff highlight his domain—the exchange and interactive field between things, as between people, consciousness and the unconscious, body and mind, and humans and nature.

Hermes, Ecopsychology, and Complexity Theory
The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe Volume III
ISBN 978-1-926715-44-5
6 x 9
228 pages
Index, Bibliography
Publication Date November 1, 2012

DENNIS L. MERRITT, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A Diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute of Analytical Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland, he also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. and B.S. in Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has participated in Lakota Sioux ceremonies for over twenty-five years which have strongly influenced his worldview.
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just Published: Tantra and Erotic Trance

Oct 15, 2012 - News Release
Just Published - John Ryan Haule's 
Tantra and Erotic Trance in two volumes.

Tantra and Erotic Trance
Volume One - Outer Work
Human sexuality is a problematic thing.  It gets us into trouble, breaks our hearts, involves us in painful compulsive relationships, even transmits deadly diseases.  It would surely scare us off, if it were not for its siren call to higher forms of union and moments of bodily bliss.  When examined more closely, however, and especially when we turn our gaze inward to see what sexual arousal is doing to our consciousness, we find we are in an altered state—a form of “erotic trance” that reveals dimensions of ourselves, our partner, and possibilities for human life that otherwise would not have been discovered.

Procreative sex forms the foundation of the nuclear family and the glue that holds society together—what we might call the “horizontal” potential of sex.  Tantra, however, is about its “vertical” dimension—about “tuning” our awareness to bring higher, spiritual realities into focus. It all begins by mastering our bodily reflexes.  This first volume of Tantra and Erotic Trance deals with the preliminary stages of mastery and the transformations of consciousness that they make possible.  The whole project is imagined as a ladder with its feet on the earth and its top leaning into Indra’s heaven.  Each rung represents a new level of awareness, a mastery of what just the rung below had appeared to us as a poorly understood gift.

Volume One - Outer Work
ISBN 978-0-9776076-8-6
9.25 x 7.5 x .75
226 pages
Index, Bibliography
Publication Date November 1, 2012


Tantra and Erotic Trance
Volume Two - Inner Work
In the first volume of Tantra and Erotic Trance we learned to overcome the ejaculatory reflex and go “beyond orgasm,” and in turn were introduced to aspects of our awareness that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. Holding ourselves in a state of longing where nothing needs be done, we learn the transpersonal potential of “erotic trance,” inhabiting the body and mind of our partner as well as our own. We become acquainted with an inner force that has a will of its own, the serpent of light that India calls “kundalini.” By now, every step we have taken has separated us from the cultural assumptions of our society and aroused disturbing emotions and images. Facing them down in calm openness calls kundalini forth as our ally, clarifies our emotional responses and gives us a new stance toward life.

Now in this second volume of Tantra and Erotic Trance, we find that the “diamond ladder of mystical ascent” is no longer “out there” in bodily congress or social expectations. Its “rungs,” instead, are the series of chakras through which the kundalini serpent rises. Each chakra that opens brings us into a different visionary world and a different emotional state. We begin in the heaviness of earth and rise through tumultuous waters and the fires of rage before entering the lightness of air and the endless expanse of ether. Indra’s heaven is finally visited in the brow chakra, and we become one with the cosmos at the crown chakra. The ultimate goal, however, is to climb back down and live on the earth with our experience intact so that every empirical event is charged with transcendent meaning.

Volume Two - Inner Work
ISBN 978-0-9776076-9-3
9.25 x 7.5 x .75
226 pages
Index, Bibliography
Publication Date November 1, 2012

John Ryan Haule
holds a doctorate in religious studies from Temple University. He is a Jungian analyst trained in Zurich and a faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston. In addition to Tantra and Erotic Trance I and II, his publications include: Divine Madness: Archetypes of Romantic Love; The Love Cure: Therapy Erotic and Sexual; Perils of the Soul: Ancient Wisdom and the New Age; The Ecstasies of St. Francis: The Way of Lady Poverty; and Jung in the 21st Century, in two volumes: Evolution and Archetype and Synchronicity and Science.

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Just Published - Goatsong!



What happens when you lose everything: a mother, your home, your right to live alone? What happens when society calls you undesirable? When best efforts make it worse? Three women and a child, each alone. Nature heals . . . opens hearts . . . Nelda’s small herd of goats and her wisdom, Ester’s willingness to pay attention, Dee’s caring action. These are the gifts from three unlikely women to the child Sophia. To know the saddest song there is, to know the Goatsong of tragedy, is to be reborn. Goatsong, a story of return, love, and redemption.

There are some wonderful classics that transcend age and gender: The Last Unicorn, The Red Balloon, The Little Prince. Goatsong joins that legendary trio. Unlike many books with mythic content, the emotions of the characters are authentic, their dialogue real and profound, the psychological insight as powerful as the tale.
--Leah Shelleda, author of After the Jug Was Broken and The Book of Now.

In addition to Goatsong, Patricia Damery is the author of Farming Soul: A Tale of Initiation and Snakes. Her articles and poetry have been published in the San Francisco Library Journal, Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche, Psychological Perspectives, and Biodynamics: Working for Social Change Through Agriculture. With her husband Donald, she has farmed biodynamically for twelve years in the Napa Valley of California.

Goatsong
Paperback & eBook
168 pages
First edition (Oct 15, 2012)
Publisher: il piccolo editions
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1926715764
ISBN-13: 978-1926715766

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Devil's Music . . . perhaps its Soul?


A Commentary on Mark Winborn’s Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey by Deborah Bryon

Originally published in Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, Summer 2012, Vol. 6, Num. 3, pp. 96-97 (www.ucpressjournals.com/journal.php?j=jung)

I was surprised and delighted to encounter the colorful and poeticstyle in Mark Winborn’s Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey. Through his writing, he reminds us that blues music- like visual imagery - can be a rich, metaphoric language with the capacity to hold archetypal experience as a living entity. As a Jungian analyst pulling from his own background as a musician, Winborn creates a compelling space for the deep spiritual expression of blues experience as it surfaces on the pages of this book, giving it a voice of its own.

Winborn starts by tracing blues history back to its original roots, paralleling it with Greek tragedy and the perils of Orpheus and Odysseus. By asking the question, “What is the blues?” Winborn explores the music as both an internal psychological state and an attitude–a philosophy and way of being in the world. Similar to working with a dream, he circumambulates around symbolic themes found in blues material – first, in a historical context using amplification, and then by describing the blues as a vehicle for psychological healing and transformation. Winborn successfully moves back and forth from being in the actual experience of relating to the blues into expressing it through verbal language that is both imaginative and easily accessible to the reader.


Next, Winborn travels into universal themes encrypted in the lyrics of blues songs. The shared emotional state between the performer and the audience, arising from the human experience of daily living, becomes poetically transformed through musical metaphor. The blues is a language of the senses and a language of spirit. The human experience of love and heartbreak, the early mother-child bond, addictions, and sexual frustrations, for example, are remembered, and once again come alive.

In addition to considering the blues within the context of a personal frame of reference, blues is a collective energetic experience. Winborn explores the trance-like nature of the blues that is capable of bringing the listener, as well as the performer, into a field of unitary reality. Through the creative process of being touched by sound we become one with the experience. Besides offering a means for human emotional expression, the sounds of the blues penetrate the body in a way that brings visceral experience of sensual embodiment, and with this redemption and new awareness. Opposites are transcended through the immediacy of being in relationship with life that takes place in ontological time.

Winborn examines the cultural myths of the blues as “devil’s music.” The blues originated as a reaction to the oppression of slavery, manifesting in archetypal shadow figures of the “bad man,” the trickster, and other potentially self-destructive archetypal characters associated with possession by the death instinct. Yet the blues can also be regenerative–bringing the capacity for growth and new life. Jung stated that energy contained in our personal shadow is life force. Blues music is also about the ecstasy of initiation and being in the twilight of the crossroads of liminal spaces, between darkness and light–the places where magic happens and shamans cross bridges between ordinary and non-ordinary reality.

Winborn goes on to suggest that healing which takes place in hearing blues music is a shamanic rather than analytic process. Creating a contagion through the music is the elixir. The constantly changing lyrics provide context and meaning as the singer’s personality, feelings, and state of mind shines through with shifts and fluctuations of subjective experience in any given moment. If a feeling response is evoked by the performer, that brings the listener into the enchantment of the projection created by the music, then the song is effective. The blues narrative is one of the ways we can face and synthesize the unprocessed and repressed aspects of the shadow in our own journey, as well as the collective cultural psyche as a whole. The blues musician functions as a channel with access to the energy of the collective experience of pain by humanizing it and making it more tolerable.

Sparked by reading Deep Blues I found myself drifting into my own reverie, wondering if the powerful archetypal charge constellated in blues symbols is a reflection of the separation that is a bi-product of living in modern culture? Do the blues provide us with the needed cathartic experience that we have lost the ability to generate as easily on our own? Winborn reminds us of the personification and humor in first-person stories conveyed by blues singers, making us remember the feeling of being human, and with this, the capacity for relatedness.

I thoroughly enjoyed Deep Blues, and would highly recommend the book. In his writing, Winborn artfully moves the reader into an archetypal Dionysian experience residing in the body, and prompts us to remember that blues music makes us feel alive. He follows blues experience into the alchemical realm of the prima material – instinct in its most raw and vital form--by using the metaphor of color to describe how blues music can resonate in our psyches. In reading Deep Blues, I wished for an expanded discussion of the alchemical healing that a blues melody has on the psyche. Shadow material can emerge not only in the words but in the energy generated from the relationship between the notes of the blues scales bending on guitar strings. This phenomenon might add additional fodder for exploring archetypal expression–but perhaps this will be a topic Winborn will explore in greater length in a future book.

To quote Winborn, citing Chicago blues disc jockey Purvis Spann, “If you don’t like blues, you’ve got a hole in your soul.” Anyone who has listened to a captivating blues melody knows that these sounds come from the heart and the soul, from deep inside. As Winborn has describes, the listener cannot resist the inward pull of the melody, just as it is impossible to refrain from tapping to the beat. when we are captured in the spell of listening to the blues.

Deborah Bryon, PhD, is an analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and practices in the Denver, Colorado area. She is the author of a book on shamanic experiences, Lessons of the Inca Shamans: Piercing the Veil, released by Pine Winds Press in August 2012 (http://lessonsoftheincashamans.com/)

Read more reviews of Deep Blues and listen to an audio interview with Dr. Winborn at www.deepblues.org.

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In the Garden of the Gods

The Sculpture Garden as Temenos, Transitional Space, and Mundus Imaginalis

Article by Randall Mishoe

This paper is a reflection on a visit to a most unusual public sculpture garden and the experience shared by six dream group members during an exquisitely beautiful April weekend on the southeastern coast. I will begin by describing the place, followed by comments about the dream group members, adding thoughts about the psychological nature of the event, and concluding with observations from the dream group members themselves.

The site is Brookgreen Gardens, an outdoor museum designated a National Historic Landmark. As the curator, Robin R. Salmon explains, "Whatever label is bestowed upon it -- historic site, art collection, zoological facility, horticultural display, protected habitat -- Brookgreen Gardens is completely unique among American museums." (Brookgreen Garden, p. 8)

"Brookgreen," in short, as it is referred to by the locals, was created in 1931 by Archer and Anna Huntington. Archer Huntington (1870-1955) was one of the wealthiest men in the US, a businessman, but also a patron of the arts who became a poet, a linguist, and a specialist in Hispanic culture. Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was a self-taught sculptor who developed her keen skills of observation at the side of her scientist father, paleontologist and pioneer marine biologist, with ties to Harvard and MIT. Having early on created the sculpture Joan of Arc for New York City in 1910, she received critical acclaim and became world renown with works placed in locations not only throughout this country but also throughout the world.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Are we “Jungians” a cult?

article by Deldon Anne McNeely

Are we “Jungians” a cult?  With all the publicity these days around Jung’s private journals (The Red Book) being published, the movie “A Dangerous Method” being produced, a lot of gossip about Jung’s relationships with women being tossed about, and an ongoing question about Jung’s mental health being debated online among scholars, one could say that we do have an extraordinary curiosity about the man that seems cultish; that is, that we are preoccupied with this figure as a private individual to be revered and/or emulated, and whose work somehow must be judged by his character strengths or faults.

To some extent this satisfies a current fad, this prying into the privacy of public figures, which can be seen either as prurient – a kind of mental masturbation, or as a healthy quest for transparency. The details of Kennedy’s womanizing, the attention to the marital and extra-marital lives of the French and other foreign statesmen, the dissection of Einstein’s, Eleanor Roosevelt’s, or (insert your favorite here)’s sex life, suddenly emerges after years of public indifference, so it should not surprise us that Jung’s private life is subjected to the microscope of curiosity.

To the extent that we feel a need to protect Jung’s reputation as our “leader” we can be accused of identifying to an unhealthy or cultish degree that obscures our unbiased acceptance of fact. But this is complicated by a situation in which those who would discredit all of psychoanalysis, who deny validity to an interest in studying unconscious motivation and its relationship to spiritual seeking, will use Jung’s character flaws – real or manufactured - to hang their criticisms on. It is tempting to answer those critics on behalf of our dedication to what we see as our valid psychic truth, Jung or no Jung.
 It is also tempting to defend the privileging of imagination, a factor in creativity, as a healthy human trait, and not an example of psychosis, Jung or no Jung. If I say that I believe it is reasonable to explore fantasy and non-rational thought, and to suffer emotional distress, without losing touch with reality, must I be accused of trying to defend Jung’s sanity?

Jung's most even-handed biographer, Bair, found the contradictory reports about Jung, based on hearsay and innuendo, to be extreme and remarkable. He was surely not mealy-mouthed and conciliatory, but fully “out there”, to be admired or despised. As the examination of Jung's personality goes on, I keep in mind that at a time when sexual liberty was veiled, but always present in adventurous men and women, when marital fidelity was idealized but not kept sacred by many, when women were not allowed to vote or encouraged to be well educated, the concept of Anima and Animus was an effort to equal the playing field, to acknowledge the intellect of women, the vulnerability of men, and the place of sexual identity and physical intimacy for both genders in the individuation process.

Jung did not create, but he did amplify, the understanding that our clumsy, human attempts at “coniunctio” through sexual and emotional union with another, are aimed at an ultimate union with a transpersonal Other. Grappling with Anima and Animus projections is the process through which we come to resolution of this universal longing.

We can look at Jung through one lens and focus on his inconsistencies and possible character flaws.  "A Dangerous Method" opportunistically skirts around this view (pun in cheek).

Or we can look through another lens and focus on a man of integrity who struggled with ambition, a heavy father-complex, transference and countertransference problems as a pioneer in that area, philosophical and moral questions, and with power and charisma that he enjoyed and attracted in both men and women. He made conscious his confrontations with those aspects and attempted to impart to others a way of unveiling the unconscious.

In either case, the insights that he gained from observing the psyche - in both men and women, and especially in his attempts to analyze himself, were inspired. Insights must be tried out, lived through, reflected upon, enjoyed or regretted, but embodied, not just considered cerebrally, to become alchemically processed if they are to contribute to the store of wisdom. Jung’s insights evolved to become the collection of work that far surpasses the mere man.

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; Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods; and her just published memoir A Russian Lullaby.

This article was originally published in The C. G. Jung Society of New Orleans Fall 2012 Newsletter and was published to the Fisher King Review by permission from Deldon Anne McNeely.
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Holy Grail and Near Death Experiences

by Dennis Merritt

"[India] left tracks which lead from one infinity into another infinity,” Jung wrote. (MDR, p. 284) During a hospitalization near the end of his trip, he had many remarkable dreams that underscored his personal myth: to rescue the Grail for Western culture. (n 84) He said a dream he had when just out of the hospital made one of the “most powerful dream impressions” in his life. (Bair 2003, p. 429) The dream location was on what seemed to be an island off the Southern coast of England. His sightseeing companions were not impressed that there was to be a secret celebration of the Grail that night in a medieval castle of the Grail. The lower wall of the castle had a tiny, iron, hooded gnome moving among metal leaves and vines containing tiny iron houses. (n 85) For the celebration to occur that evening, the responsibility fell upon Jung to fetch the Grail at night from a second smaller, desolate island. To do so Jung had to swim across a cold, wide channel. (MDR, p. 280-282) (n 86)

He said the most important aspect of the dream was “the visibility of the Grail or the Grail’s castle”—it was to be seen as real. (Bair 2003, p. 429) It was powerful and alive—not a passive tourist attraction as it was to some people in the dream. Ten years previous Jung had discovered that the myth of the Grail was still a living thing in many places in England, “recognized again by poets and prophetically revived” in different forms under changed names. Jung took the dream to mean he should not be preoccupied with India but with what was being lost in the West, symbolized by the quest for the Grail and the philosopher’s stone of the alchemists. (MDR, p. 282) (see Appendices D and E) “The Grail is a symbol of enlightenment” in the West he wrote (Bair 2003, p. 430)–the unum vas, una medicina and unus lapis of the alchemists (MDR, p. 282) while the Buddha represents the enlightened mind in the East. Buddhists strive to attain the degree of fulfillment and perfection of the Buddha.

The ultimate meaning of the Grail lay in its connection with the individuation process of becoming whole where one gives oneself over to the impersonal, that which is beyond and more encompassing than the personal. It is about becoming a Chinese sage: “the ear listening to the Inner King.” Individuation is ultimately a mystery—beyond human comprehension—“‘a lonely search’ perhaps akin to the ‘process of dying.’” Jung added, “Only few could bear such a search,” symbolized by his swimming alone in the cold water to a desolate island containing the Grail. (Bair 2003, p. 429)

Bair noted that Jung “thought he may have had such dreams...because his overall question was how and why the evil he encountered in India was ‘not a moral dimension,’ but rather...‘a divine power.’” (Bair 2003, p. 429 quoted from the Protocols) The India trip “provoked the initial reflections upon religion that served as the basis for all his writings on the subject from then on.” (p. 497) Answers to the questions which emerged came years later when Jung used his understanding of alchemy to analyze Christianity and the dark side of God. He developed the position on morals that one should intensely engage the Self in the hope of generating an individual response to a moral conflict, perhaps even doing what is considered to be “wrong” by conventional moral and ethical standards. “India was not my task,” Jung wrote, “but only a part of the way—admittedly a significant one—which should carry me closer to my goal.” (MDR, p. 282)

The powerful impressions and imagery from India loomed large in a near death experience six years later. Following a massive heart attack, he experienced a series of visions while under oxygen and camphor in February of 1944 at age 68. Jung was at “the outermost border,” somewhere between “a dream and an ecstasy”—probably between delirium and a coma. The visions, together with his trip to India in 1937-38, which ended in briefer periods of delirium while hospitalized, were the most enormous experiences of his life. (Bair 2003, p. 497)

The 1944 visions altered his life and eventually led him to revamp his concept of the archetypes. One vision was of Jung floating about one thousand miles above Sri Lanka with the earth below “bathed in a gloriously blue light” and shimmering in intense colors: “The most glorious thing I had ever seen,” Jung proclaimed. (MDR, p. 289, 290) In another vision, a Hindu sat in lotus posture waiting for Jung in the entrance to a huge rock in outer space. Deeper in the rock was the entrance to an antechamber framed by a wreath of flaming lamps similar to a temple entrance he had visited in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The lamps represented “a purifying essence through which he had to walk.” (Bair 2003, p. 497) As he approached the step to enter the rock, he underwent an extremely painful process of having his entire earthy existence stripped away:
There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence. (MDR, p. 291)
As soon as he entered the illuminated temple in the rock, he was certain he would meet his people who could answer his burning questions about the historical context of his life and the direction in which it had been flowing. As he thought about this he saw his doctor, in his primal form as healer, floating up from Europe. He was delegated by the earth to protest Jung’s departure and insisted Jung return immediately. At that moment the vision ceased. (p. 291, 292)

Jung was profoundly disappointed that he didn’t get to enter the temple and join the “greater company” he belonged with. It took him three weeks to decide to live again. (n 87) Reality seemed like a prison, an artificially created three-dimensional world “in which each person sat by himself in a little box” suspended by a thread. (MDR, p. 292) He was depressed, weak and wretched during the day, but woke at midnight for an hour into an utterly transformed, ecstatic, blissful state. “I felt as though I were floating in space,” he said, “as though I were safe in the womb of the universe—in a tremendous void, but filled with the highest possible feeling of happiness” (p. 293)—Jung in the pregnant void. Everything around him in the hospital seemed enchanted, a magical, sacred atmosphere with “a pneuma of inexpressible sanctity in the room, whose manifestation was the mysterium coniunctionis.” (p. 295) He experienced the divine union in the form of visions of the Cabbalistic marriage in the afterlife of the male and female principles: he was the marriage. Then he was the festive Marriage of the Lamb in Jerusalem with ineffable states of joy and angels and light, which led to a vision of Zeus and Hera consummating their marriage in an outdoor amphitheater. The midnight visions gradually mingled and paled as Jung approached life again. They were gone after three weeks. (p. 294, 295)

The sacred marriage and sexual union of divine figures are prime examples of the union of opposites as a symbol of the Self. It illustrates the symbolic dimension of sexuality depicted in Shiva and Shakti in loving embrace, one of the Hindu images for liberation or nirvana. Such symbols of the Self add the important dimension to ecopsychology of the sacredness of sexuality and the body, our most direct link to nature and a sense of the Spirit in nature.

The visions and experiences had seemed utterly real to Jung: “the most tremendous things I had ever experienced,” he said. (n 88) By contrast, everything during the day irritated him; everything “was too material, too crude and clumsy, terribly limited both spatially and spiritually.” Reality felt like an empty imprisonment, “yet it had a kind of hypnotic power.” Jung wrote, “I have never since entirely freed myself of the impression that this life is a segment of existence which is enacted in a three-dimensional boxlike universe especially set up for it.” (MDR, p. 295)

Jung’s visions “had a quality of absolute objectivity,” (MDR, p. 295) an objectivity he later related to a dream-vision he had soon after Emma died in 1955. She appeared to him in her prime wearing her best dress:
Her expression was neither joyful nor sad, but, rather, objectively wise and understanding, without the slightest emotional reaction, as though she were beyond the mist of affects…It contained the beginning of our relationship, the events of fifty-three years of marriage, and the end of her life also. (p. 296) (n 89)
The dream was an example of the objectivity necessary for a completed individuation: “Only through objective cognition is the real coniunctio possible.” (MDR, p. 297) Emotional ties contain projections that coerce and constrain both parties. Objective cognition is seeing and accepting the absolute reality of a situation, what Jung called the “mountaintop perspective” related to Winnicott’s concept of the use of the object. (Winnicott 1969) Plato said philosophy is being able to die before one’s physical death, meaning that facing death, bringing death to life, gives one the objectivity of a philosopher of life. I associate such objective cognition with a perspective that can be obtained by activities like meditation, vision quests, and the moments of deep insight in life and in therapy.

Jung had completed Psychology and Alchemy just over a year before the near death visions; he had also written the first chapters of his opus magnum, Mysterium Coniunctionis. “All I have written is correct,” he said; he felt the illness was necessary for him to know the full reality of the mysterium coniunctionis. (Hannah 1991, p. 279)

He suffered another heart attack 2-1/2 years later, in November of 1946, probably as dangerous as the first: he was “suspended over the abyss” for several weeks. (Hannah 1991, p. 293, 294) Jung believed it occurred because he was involved in an intense period of creative activity at that time, wrestling “with the mysterious problem of hieros gamos (the mysterium coniunctionis).” He felt it took the two heart attacks to understand the hieros gamos well enough to even write about it. (p. 294, 295) Eleven years later and four years before his death at age 86 Jung admitted that he had not “solved the riddle of the coniunctio mystery” and was “darkly aware of things lurking in the background of the problem—things too big for horizons.” (Jung 1976a, p. 393) He, as much as anyone, could appreciate the depth of the meaning of the union of warring opposites; he had been aware of the dark side of God since childhood, had a powerful confrontation with the unconscious, had suffered in Europe through two world wars, and was essentially married to two women!

Fundamental changes occurred in Jung’s relationships with the women in his life following his first heart attack in 1944. Emma had rented a room in the hospital and didn’t leave the building for over two months. Bair comments:
Jung’s illness struck the death knell for [his] long relationship [with Toni Wolff], which had been imperiled since Toni refused to participate in alchemical research (n 90)…By the time Jung went home, he was as dependent upon Emma as a small child upon his mother. (Bair 2003, p. 501)
Nighttime visions during hospitalizations and dreams of all phases of his long marriage confronted Jung with a sense of wholeness:
From that time on, he revered [Emma] for all that she had brought to his life, and he sanctified their marriage as “an indescribable whole.” (Bair 2003, p. 501)
A gracious and generous accommodation had sprung up naturally between Toni and Emma sometime in the late l940s, and it lasted for the remainder of Toni’s life. (p. 558)
You have just read an excerpt from Dennls L. Merritt's The Cry of Merlin: Jung, the Prototypical Ecopsychologist (Volume 2 of The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe)

Notes:
Bair, D. 2003. Jung: A Biography. Little, Brown and Co.: Boston and New York.
Hannah, B. 1991. Jung: His Life and Work: A Biographical Memoir. Shambala: Boston.
MDR = Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Aniela Jaffe, ed. Richard and Claire Winston, trans. Random House: New York.


Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

From Archetypes of the Zodiac to Beyond the Mask



Now shipping

Beyond the Mask: The Rising Sign
Parts 1 & 2 (combined edition)

by Katheen Burt

"Beyond the Mask will speak deeply to many--to astrologers and lovers of astrology at every level, archetypally minded people, depth psychologists and seekers from many walks of life."
--Monika Wikman Ph.D., Jungian Analyst and author of Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness

Well known and respected internationally for her ground breaking work in Archetypes of the Zodiac, Kathleen Burt now offers us a phenomenal distillation of her life work in: Beyond the Mask: The Rising Sign - Part 1 & Part 2.  Midlife urgings bring forth cycles of death and rebirth. Antiquated identities and roles must die, old 'masks' must be pealed away before we can discover a new path in life. Kathleen Burt addresses specifically how the twelve rising sign patterns guide us into new life and fresh experiences. With the keen eye of an astrologer examining the biography of creative writers and inspired people, Kathleen Burt brings a depth of understanding to the Rising Sign. This unique volume of wisdom offers decades of scholarly study and practical experience in esoteric astrology, psychology, mythology, and biography and examines the underlying archetypal patterns inherent in our lives.

An astrologer in private practice for 30 years, Kathleen Burt is the author of Archetypes of the Zodiac, a book about Sun Signs from the perspectives of mythology, psychology, and esoteric astrology, and the phenomenal distillation of her life work, Beyond the Mask: The Rising Sign. A Fulbright scholar to India, Kathleen completed her graduate work in South Asian history at the University of Chicago. She has taught at Roosevelt University, Chicago and Mira Costa College in CA. Patterns in Health, a two-year program on archetypes, dreams, ritual and Active Imagination led by Jungian analysts has influenced her life and client work. She currently teaches Viniyoga classes (sequencing and breathwork) in the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar.

Beyond the Mask: The Rising Sign
Volumes I & 2 - Combined Edition
Paperback: 394 pages
Large Page format - 9.25" x 7.5"
Publisher: Genoa House (July 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1926975081
ISBN-13: 978-1926975085

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tantra & Erotic Trance



June 26, 2012 - News Release

Fisher King Press to publish John Ryan Haule's Tantra & Erotic Trance in two volumes.

Tantra & Erotic Trance
Volume One - Outer Work

A recurring metaphor Tantra & Erotic Trance is that of the ladder of mystical ascent, sometimes called the “diamond” ladder, evoking the Tibetan concept of dorje and the Hindu lingam but especially the diamond body of Buddhism.  An ascent is described, beginning in the very first chapters where controversies about sex lead to the conclusion that human sexuality has both a horizontal meaning as the foundation of the nuclear family in a stable society and a vertical meaning as the engine of consciousness change in Tantra.

We embark on the vertical path only by developing a new relationship with our body, in fact reversing some of the assumptions most of us take for granted.  This first volume, “Outer Work,” describes the influence our body can have on our consciousness, beginning with a new valuation of orgasm and its role in human sexuality.  We also learn that being separated from our partner can be no less important than being together.  Finally, Tantra takes us into conflict with the values of society at large and recommends an heroic stance in which we court the most disturbing and overwhelming emotions in a spirit of equanimity.  The first volume ends with the reforms of the great tenth century devotee of Shiva, Abhinavagupta, who urged his disciples to turn their attention away from the outer forms of their practices and to attend instead to the changes occurring in their consciousness.

Abhinavagupta made the essential mystical move recognized in every religious tradition:  that we must learn to reverse our attention, away from the deity or sacred object before us to the effects such beings cause in our awareness.  His contribution, then, becomes the foundation for Volume Two, “Inner Work.”

Tantra & Erotic Trance
Volume One - Outer Work
ISBN 978-0-9776076-8-6
9.25 x 7.5 x .75
Est. 215 pages
Index, Bibliography
Publication Date November 15, 2012

* * * * *

Tantra & Erotic Trance
Volume Two - Inner Work

In Volume One of this study, “Outer Work,” we described managing our orgasmic response so as to cultivate “erotic trance,” the altered state of consciousness that is the foundation of all Tantric activity;  and we used it to climb the “diamond ladder” of mystical ascent to a rung characterized by the management of overwhelming emotions.

Now in Volume Two, “Inner Work,” we turn our attention away from “outer” goals having to do with our physiology and our relation to society at large and its prescriptions, to the much more subtle “interior” changes occurring in our consciousness.  Continuing our climb up the rungs of the diamond ladder, we are introduced to the landscape of mysticism, a topography whose several regions are each characterized by the mastery of a different psychological capacity.

Yoga gives us an interior ladder in the form of the subtle body that is comprised of the chakras, each of which opens onto a distinctly different emotional realm.  In this work our “feeling function” becomes highly differentiated.  Tibetan mandala meditation disciplines our imaginative capacity, as we bring the heavenly palace of copulating gods and goddesses into being.  By cultivating emptiness, we pare away our attachments to the memories that have been holding us back and the aspirations that narrow our future so that we can dwell in the present moment, without the props of doctrine and method.

Passing beyond our personal self, we are introduced to the divine oneness of the cosmos, pulsing between accomplished union and the vision of that with which we are united.  We return from such ecstasy to live our temporal lives on two planes simultaneously as spiritual wayfarers.

John Ryan Haule holds a doctorate in religious studies from Temple University. He is a Jungian analyst trained in Zurich and is a faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston.

Tantra & Erotic Trance
Volume Two - Inner Work
ISBN 978-0-9776076-9-3
9.25 x 7.5 x .75
Est. 220 pages
Index, Bibliography
Publication Date November 15, 2012

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Menopause Man-Unplugged



June 25, 2012

News/Press Release — Just Published

Menopause Man-Unplugged
Book Two of The Chronicles of a Wandering Soul Series
a novel by Mel Mathews

“Through the 21st Century Looking Glass”  —USA Today

Mel Mathews is a sensitive observer of the human condition, with an emphasis on the Male Human Condition of our time. He has created a character in Malcolm Clay that is a baby boomer Holden Caulfield, a variation on John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom, and he manages to take us by the hand and lead us through the bumpy terrain of current interpersonal relationships as well as anyone writing today. Menopause Man–Unplugged is a journey so well written that the novel calls for pause to enjoy the sheer ebullience of the verbiage. Mel Mathews is a fine writer, finding his way through life in these times. He is a reliable companion on the trek we all are taking. And now on to the next volume in the series, SamSara, addictively! —Grady Harp, USA Today

“Mel Mathews’ place in the ranks of fine contemporary writers is assured.”

In The Chronicles of a Wandering Soul series, the wandering, questing central figure of Malcolm Clay has become a new literary icon. With thoughtful ruminations, keen humor, informative explorations of themes from religion to traits of visited countries, and so many clever double entendres, Mel Mathews’ place in the ranks of fine contemporary writers is assured.
—Grady Harp, goodreads,  Amazon.com Top10 Reviewer

Raw at times, Mel Mathews, in his unique and uncanny way, takes his readers inside, deep into the soul of a man as he struggles to become free of the illusions that continue to haunt humanity to this very day. Menopause Man–Unplugged brings us closer to the reality that men have equally suffered from what the Women’s Movement began to defy decades ago. A theme runs through Mathews’ novels, suggesting that the so-called problems between the sexes, as with most battles, is not so much about man and woman being at odds with one another, but instead, people being at odds within themselves.

Menopause Man-Unplugged
a novel by Mel Mathews
Publisher: il piccolo editions
ISBN 9781926715360

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Cry of Merlin


June 27, 2012

Advance Press/News Release:
Just Published by Fisher King Press

The Cry of Merlin: 
Jung, the Prototypical Ecopsychologist
The Dairy Farmer's Guide to the Universe Volume II
by Dennis L. Merritt

Carl Jung can be seen as the prototypical ecopsychologist. Volume II of The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe explores how Jung’s life and times created the context for the ecological nature of Jungian ideas.  It is an ecopsychological exercise to delineate the many dimensions of Jung’s life that contributed to creation of his system—his basic character, nationality, family of origin, difficulties in childhood, youthful environment, period in Western culture, and his pioneering position in the development of modern psychology. Jung said every psychology is a subjective confession, making it important to discover the lacuna in Jung’s character and in his psychological system, particularly in relation to Christianity. Archetypically redressing the lacuna leads to the creation of a truly holistic, integrated ecological psychology that can help us live sustainably on this beautiful planet.

Front Cover: Jung’s relief carving on the side of his Bollingen Tower, a place he associated with Merlin. The inscription reads, “May the light arise, which I have borne in my body.” The woman reaching out to milk the mare is Jung’s anima as “a millennia-old ancestress.” The image is an anticipation of the Age of Aquarius, which is under the constellation of Pegasus. The feminine element is said to receive a special role in this new eon. Jung imagined the inspiring springs that gush forth from the hoof prints of Pegasus, the “fount horse,” to be associated with the Water Bearer, the symbol of Aquarius.

Dennis L. Merritt, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Merritt is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich and also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. and B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty-five years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies has strongly influenced his worldview.

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles.