Friday, December 11, 2009

Daughters and Well-meaning Mothers

This past summer, Daryl Sharp of Inner City Books contacted us, explaining that he had edited a manuscript for Kehinde Ayeni. Daryl suggested that the manuscript was a real winner and encouraged us to consider it for publication. We had a closer look and soon contracted to published this body of work. We are now pleased to announce the publication of:

Feasts of Phantoms
a novel by Kehinde Adeola Ayeni
ISBN 978-0-9813939-2-6, 346 pp

How is a well meaning mother to protect her daughter from a culture where the birth of a baby girl is met with despair because the only future open to her is that of sexual assault and teenage pregnancy, which would doom her to a life of illiteracy and poverty as it has doomed her lineage before her? Genital mutilation has many causes but at the root of all of them is fear. A fear that pushes a mother to do the unthinkable to a daughter that she loves? What does a scapegoat do with the fate she has been handed? Accept it and roll with it, or reject it? How is she to reject it when the acceptance of her role is needed for her culture's psychic equilibrium? In the theater of the mind where all springs forth, is there such a thing as an innocent victim, and a victimizer? Feasts of Phantoms is a novel that explores these questions, and more.

Kehinde Adeola Ayeni, MD., a public health physician, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst was born in Nigeria. A mother of two children, she is in private practice in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Her first novel Our Mother's Sore Expectations explored the plight of women under dictatorship government in Nigeria. Dr. Ayeni founded the Foundation for Indigenous Development and Advocacy (, a nonprofit organization whose goal is that every Nigerian child has at minimum an elementary school education, and she works closely with Educare Trust Fund based in Ibadan, Nigeria (

Feasts of Phantoms can be purchased directly from the Fisher King Press Online Bookstore.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Press Release - Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return

a novella by Erel Shalit
ISBN 9781926715032
Just published by Fisher King Press:

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return
a novella by Erel Shalit

Requiem returns us to an eternal theme, a dialogue with Soul, and we know quite well what happens when one dialogues with Soul—we change, consciousness is enlarged, the impossible becomes possible and we no longer are compelled to blindly follow in the deathly path of our forefathers.

Requiem is a fictitious account of a scenario played out in the mind of many Israelis, pertaining to existential reflections and apocalyptic fears, but then, as well, the hope and commitment that arise from the abyss of trepidation. While set in Israel sometime in the present, it is a story that reaches into the timelessness of history, weaving discussions with Heine and Kafka into a tale of universal implications.

Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Ra’anana, Israel. He is a training and supervising analyst, and past president of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology. He is the author of several publications, including Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path.

Dr. Shalit lectures at professional institutes, universities, and cultural forums in Israel, Europe, and the United States. One of his popular lectures includes Requiem and is the basis for Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Finalist of NAAP Gradiva® Award

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: 
Shadows in the Hero’s Path
is 1 of 3 finalists for the Theoretical category of the NAAP Gradiva® Award.

In Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path, Erel Shalit provides new thoughts and views on the concepts of Hero and Shadow. From a Jungian perspective, this Fisher King Press publication elaborates on mythological and psychological images. Myths and fairy tales explored include Perseus and Andersen's The Cripple. You'll also enjoy the psychological deciphering of Biblical stories such as Amalek - The Wicked Warrior, Samson - The Impoverished Sun, and Jacob & the Divine Adversary. With the recent discovery of The Gospel of Judas, Dr. Shalit also delves into the symbolic relationship between Jesus and Judas Iscariot to illustrate the hero-function's inevitable need of a shadow.

About the Author
Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Ra'anana, Israel. He is a training and supervising analyst, and past president of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology (ISAP). He is the author of several publications, including The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel and The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego. Articles of his have appeared in Quadrant, The Jung Journal, Spring Journal, Political Psychology, Clinical Supervisor, Round Table Review, Jung Page, Midstream, and he has entries in The Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. Dr. Shalit lectures at professional institutes, universities, and cultural forums in Israel, Europe, and the United States.

Order your copy Enemy, Cripple, Beggar from Fisher King Press.
Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted: +1-831-238-7799.

Be kept up to date on many new publications at

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honoring the Assumption of Mary

An Introduction to Re-Imagining Mary by Mariann Burke

Re-Imagining Mary
is about meeting Mary in image and imagination. It is about the Mary image mirroring both an outer reality and the inner feminine soul. My first meeting with Mary began with an experience of Fra Angelico’s Annunciation (Cortona). I cannot account for my unusual response to the image except to say that, at the time, over twenty years ago, I was studying Jungian psychology in Zürich, Switzerland and was then probably more disposed to respond to the imaginal world. One day as I sat in my basement apartment reflecting on a picture of his Annunciation, energy seemed to surge through me and lift me above myself. Tears brought me to deep center.
Annunciation, painted by Fra Angelico (1387-1455) 
(Florence) Museo San Marco, courtesy Wikimedia Commons
It does not matter whether my experience was religious or psychic. The two are very similar since any religious experience always affects our psyche and changes it. It was as if I was restored to my truest self. This was an awakening for me, not an ecstasy. Far from leaving my body-self, I seemed to recover it. At the time I had no desire to study Art History or Iconography. Instead, wishing to stay in the world of the symbolic, I returned to the Biblical inspiration for the image in St. Luke.

This is what St. Luke tells us about Jesus’ conception:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.” She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” (Luke:1:26-38)
I had read this passage many times but it was soon to take on richer meaning.

Since we know nothing of Jesus’ conception and birth, legend and myth “fill in.” The word ‘myth’ comes from the ancient Greek word ‘mythos’ meaning ‘word.’ Both ‘logos’ and ‘mythos’ mean ‘word.’ While ‘logos’ refers to rational thinking, ‘mythos’ describes poetic or intuitive thinking. “Biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth and resurrection are ‘mythos.’ Biblical historical facts of his life are ‘logos.’ Both are true.”(2) Myths or mythos express truth closer to life’s meaning than facts. Myths resonate in the soul. For example, stories about the quest for the Grail resonate with all “searchers.” We long to experience the Holy, the numinous. The Annunciation, the birth in the stable, the shepherds’ adoration, and the journey to Egypt, all of these give valuable insights into our personal spiritual journey. And the artists who have painted these scenes have provided us with “windows” into depths unknown perhaps even to them . . .
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mariann Burke is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Newton, MA. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, Andover-Newton Theological School, and the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She has done graduate work in Scripture at Union Theological Seminary and La Salle University. Her interests include the body-psyche connection, feminine spirituality, and the psychic roots of Christian symbolism. She is a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ)

Order a copy of Re-Imagining Mary 
1.The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
2. Seminar notes by Dr. Richard Naegle, Guild for Psychological Studies, San Francisco, 1995. In St. John’s Gospel “Logos” refers to the eternal existence of the Word. See also Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth, p. 31.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Father Spirit: At the Turning Point

an article by Bud Harris, Ph.D.

A Guide for Rediscovering and Renewing
the Foundations of Fatherhood

The Father Spirit at the Turning Point

As I was reflecting on Fathers' Day this year and developing the material I'm going to use in a Fall lecture and workshop, "The Father Quest: A Guide for Rediscovering and Renewing the Foundations of Fatherhood," I was moved to write the following article. I titled it "The Father Spirit at the Turning Point." Good friends who publish Western North Carolina Woman magazine included it in their June issue; every year their June issue is "Honoring the Y Chromosome." Because of the enthusiastic response to the article, I've decided to share it with you. I hope that you will find it inspiring and enriching.

A few mornings after Christmas my wife and I were sitting at the breakfast table with my daughter. While I slowly sipped my tea, she was explaining how the slump in the economy had impacted their holidays. As a family of five with three children, finding their income reduced substantially had ushered in a holiday stress that was new to them. When she finished talking she sighed and added, "I've given up any hope that we can leave our children any better off than we were."

I was shocked by the discouragement in her voice. Leaving our children better off than we were when we started adult life has been a major part of the American Dream for as long as I can remember. I don't know how old that part of our dream is but I'm sure my father, who lived through the Great Depression, devoted much of his life to it. For his age-group, being sure your children went to college was considered a guarantee for the chance at a better life. My father's generation came out of the depression, World War II and the atomic age with a colossal yearning to create a healthy, sound world. They wanted their children to have lives that were smooth and prosperous. As we lived into the nineteen fifties our society and our families tried to make problems taboo. We wanted to have certainties. Or, rather, our parents wanted to have them for us even as the world was spiraling into the chaos of the nineteen sixties. I don't blame them for their longings because I know they were born out of the fear and traumas they endured and their desire to create a safer world for themselves and their children. Yet, this longing eventually became the root of their problems as it narrowed their perspective on life and now it has become the root of our problems as we have concretized the symbols of well-being onto financial success and material abundance.

I can easily remember that in the nineteen seventies our societal goal was to have more leisure time for our families and recreation. But, as we moved into the recession and energy shortage of the early nineteen eighties our old economic terrors began to re-emerge and we refocused on becoming workaholics; the trend-setting movie of that decade was Wall Street, famous for the speech in it that "greed is good." Instead of being a warning, this movie forecast the future.

The fear, anxiety and profound challenges that had caused a generation of men to become our "greatest generation" left them so wounded that they were unable to train and mentor their sons to be capable of meeting new challenges. My father and my coaches and teachers were more concerned that we be able to get "good" jobs than they were with teaching courage and the importance of character. They had lost track of the fact that the world is always spinning into a future of new challenges that we can rarely predict. This kind of a world can only be met effectively when we have learned something about the importance of having character, which includes love, openness, courage, integrity, and the respect for creativity. The dream of our Founding Fathers was to create a country where individuals could experience freedom, dignity, respect, equal protection under the law, the right to a representative government, the right to worship according to our own conscience and the pursuit of happiness. While this vision was imperfectly implemented it was the most profound social vision in history.

Let us remember now that the reason we call these men the Founding Fathers is no accident. In archetypal terms it is the positive, inspiring Father Spirit that calls for transformation, a renaissance of the spirit of the times in the culture or in each of us. From the perspective of Jungian psychology it is the positive Father Spirit that has called me to transform myself and grow through and beyond the crises in my life, and it is the positive Father Principle (both coming from the same archetype) that demands I must give a personal response to new life and a protective field for it to grow in. This is an important part of the definition of father love whether it is to mother and child or to the concerns of culture. It is the responsibility of father love to build a place for new life to thrive in.

Let us remember also that every archetypal image has a negative, destructive side as well as a positive, nurturing one. There is a negative destructive Father Spirit that we must watch out for. We have seen this image pictured in stories and movies. Darth Vader may be the one that is best known, or the father whose son committed suicide in Dead Poets' Society. Of course, some of us have experienced personifications of the destructive father spirit personally if our father was abusive or supported the Great Santini approach to sports, confrontation or aggression. The negative father spirit is also one that is fearful, afraid of being overwhelmed by life, and is therefore afraid of change, new life, and creative potentials. When we are possessed by this spirit we live in the illusionary hope that the way we did it in the past will be the best way to do it in the future.

These descriptions of the negative father spirit remind me of the experiences of an old college friend. We went to Georgia Tech and he majored in industrial engineering. His father owned a plant that produced concrete blocks. My friend looked forward to the day he could join his father and uncles in the family business. After his graduation his father said he wanted to teach him the business from the ground up and he started him at a low-paying, nasty, back-breaking job in the plant. In reality, my friend learned to hate the business and the true nature of his father that he discovered in the process. He realized his father had no respect for his intelligence or achievements in a tough university, and little respect for his desire to be close to him. And he was unable to nurture his son's ability to bring a new spirit of creativity into the business. His father's interest in maintaining his power and superiority was more important to him than his love for his son.

When my daughter spoke to me a few days after Christmas, I was too surprised to answer her very well. But after thinking about what she said I realized that we are at a turning point in history. I believe that we can leave our children and our grandchildren better off than when we entered adult life. But I also believe that our quest today is to leave them better off spiritually than we were. We can teach them more about reality than we were taught. We can help them learn while they are still in the safety of our love that life is full of uncertainty and anxiety, faith and nagging doubts, profound emotions, health and sickness, love, despair and grandeur. Our goal should not be to help them search for security but for competence in adult endeavors and for meaning along with the kind of passion that is soul deep rather than settling for the good life based on materialism. We must also teach by example or our efforts will be without substance.

If we are going to leave them better off spiritually than we were, we must be living a life supported by a spiritual purpose that is more profound than appearances, the security of fundamentalism, practices that help us avoid looking into our own souls, or the naïve answers of groups immersed in positive thinking. We should be able to show by how we live that we are aware of our ability to confront our deepest fears and hopes, our joys and sorrows, our wounds of love and how we've failed our own ideals at times. And, as our children mature we must be able to share some of what we've learned from these experiences.

The new president we've elected symbolizes a turning point. So far, he is facing our many problems with foresight and intelligence. I'm impressed that he doesn't see war as the solution to every problem ranging from cancer to terrorism. It is about time we learned, or relearned the lesson from our Founding Fathers, that masculine strength, wisdom and courage, when used in support of life's greatest principles, can overcome the efforts of mighty empires whose major focus is on power and commerce.

Our new president is a symbol of the new potential that has been aroused in our country. But, he is not a savior and he knows it. We must answer our own call to transform our model of living into one that isn't based on the fear of losing our never-ending material growth. The Father Spirit at its best calls us to look for balance and depth, for spiritual growth to balance our material growth and spiritual depth to provide the meaning that can give purpose and support to our lives-because neither the material alone nor the spiritual alone can give us the needed fullness of life.

We are also in a dangerous time. When great new potentials are born, the forces of the old order are threatened and fight back. Just as King Herod slaughtered the innocents, all of the new creative potentials he could get his hands on, the voices of conventional wisdom, of fear and the status quo, will fight viciously to retain their power and control. But, this is an era for men to live with new courage, creativity and love-in the support of life. I am looking forward to seeing my grandsons live into this world, and I want to do everything I can to help prepare them for it and it for them.

The Father Quest: Rediscovering and Elemental Force
by Bud Harris
ISBN 978-0-9810344-9-2
Available from your local bookstore, a host of online booksellers, and directly from Fisher King Press by phoning 1 831-238-7799.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar - A Treasure for Our Times

an in-depth review by Joe Madia

Written by Erel Shalit, a noted and extensively published Jungian psychoanalyst practicing in Ra’anana, Israel, Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is a treasure for our times. Vital and applicable to both lay people and experts, the book flows seamlessly and spirally from scholarship, to textual interpretation, to case studies, and the analysis of dreams. Shalit draws on an impressive breadth of scholarship and myths/fairy tales, looking at both history (e.g., the Crusades or Masada) and story.

The book first discusses the key aspects of the Hero, considering Byron, the work of Robert Graves and Robert Bosnak, the Bible, and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, among many other sources.

I take as my starting point the condition of mythlessness in the modern world, as expressed by Jung and reinforced by Campbell and how it is limiting our vision and ability to cure an ailing world rife with war and economic/environmental woes.

If ever we needed to consider the role of the Hero, it is now.

Consider the mistaken mythologizing of the death and wounding, respectively, of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. While both are certainly heroes, the government’s and media’s manipulation of their circumstances (used to try and justify an unjustifiable war) bring to mind David Mamet’s Wag the Dog, the 1997 film adaptation of Larry Beinhart's novel, American Hero.

The people love their heroes and their construction for societal consumption by the government and the media has become no less than a High Art.

Shalit says, on p. 24: “In society, the hero may be the messenger of hope who lights the torch of democracy. Sometimes it is amazing how, at the right moment in history, the heroism of a nation, spurting forth through layers of oppression, creates dramatic changes and overthrows worn-out regimes.”

Might this apply to U.S. president-elect Barak Obama? Many people think so, and many more find themselves hoping so. Then again, there are many who see him as the shadow, using the term antichrist, and finding similarities between he and Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind series.
If ever we needed to consider the role of the Hero, it is now.

Consider the current fascination with Superheroes in the age of CGI and comic book cinema. Just last night I watched Christopher Nolan’s record-shattering The Dark Knight, which takes as its thesis the complicated interrelationship of the hero and the shadow. Given the death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, the notions of the Hero are expanded to the realm of the Artist and his or her relationship with Pain.

When Shalit writes, on p. 95, “…life thrives in the shadow; in our detested weaknesses, complex inferiorities and repressed instincts there is more life and inspiration than in the well-adjusted compliance of the persona,” I think that his words bring Ledger’s death into sharp relief. As an acting teacher who works almost exclusively with teens, many of which see Ledger’s “dying for his art” as a form of heroism (an interpretation with which I disagree; it discounts the necessity of craft in preventing such tragedies), I think it is more important than ever to examine carefully the Hero’s role and relationship to the shadow.

The shadow is Jung’s term for the unconscious, the “thing a person has no wish to be” (p. ix). His early experience of his own shadow is, to me, some of the most compelling and useful text in his Memories, Dreams, and Reflections.

The hero must go into the shadow (the forest, the depth of the sea, the desert, the cave­—Plato’s or the Celtic Bard’s) to retrieve his soul. The shadow is a place of misery, calling to mind Schopenhauer’s ideas about life being mostly pain and sorrow and Campbell’s advice to “follow your bliss” [sat chit ananda].

Much of what Shalit centers on as aspects of the Hero are present in the shaman, who also has “one foot in divinity, one in the world of mortals” (p. 33). The journey into the netherworld (often to retrieve or heal the soul), the returning with precious gifts of knowledge, the responsibility of re-integration into the community (see Mircea Eliade’s comprehensive works on shamanism), all parallel the hero’s journey. The modes of the vision quest and the alchemical transformation are, further, symbolically manifested in the landscape of the fairy tale.

Pursuing this idea, Shalit, in the tradition of Robert Bly’s Iron John or Bruno Bettelheim’s Uses of Enchantment, ably presents and dissects a number of fairy tales, myths, and Biblical stories in the course of the book.

“Nixie of the Millpond” is presented without commentary. The myth of Perseus, however, is told with commentary from a wide variety of sources mixed in. It would be valuable to watch Clash of the Titans (1981) after reading this section, as it brings Shalit’s analysis visually to life. Page 47 lists eight traits of the hero myth to guide the interpretation. I would add a ninth—the use of magical items (such as Athena’s shield, Hermes’ sword, and the three gifts of the Stygian nymphs, all of which are given to Perseus to defeat the Medusa).

I have used these same basic elements of the hero myth for the past decade in my theatre workshops with youth and in my books on using drama in the classroom.

If our youth are to break the limiting conventions of societal and governmental structures that have put the planet and its inhabitants in a place of crisis, they—and those who guide and educate them—must understand the Hero and Shadow both.

On p. 65 Shalit writes, “Collective consciousness constitutes a threat by its demand on compliance with rules, roles and regulations.” The mythological fighting of dragons and monsters by the Hero is most clearly articulated to me by Joseph Campbell, when, in various books and interviews, he talked about Nietzsche describing the cycle of life as beginning as a camel loaded down with the requirements of parents and society. The camel then goes into the desert (one of the hero landscapes I mentioned earlier) to become the lion, who must slay the dragon whose scales all say "Thou Shalt." This dragonslaying, certainly a noble and necessary undertaking, situates the Hero as the classic warrior, akin to Michael the Archangel and St. George, but when the fighting is done, the warrior must put down the sword. Whether we speak of the Vulcans comprising the Bush administration (as author James Mann terms them) or an abused child who grows up to wage ongoing battles even on a landscape of peace in a more stable family situation, this is a notion well worth focusing on. I think of the Roman general Cincinnatus, who moved back and forth between sword and plow and the dwarves of the novels of Dan Parkinson, who switch the hammer from one hand to the other as necessary in times of peace and war.

The hero struggling with the shadow often projects onto a demonized Other because, as Shalit reminds us, “Since shadows easily lend themselves to projection [see pgs. 97–101 for the three types identified by Jung], they are discovered so much more easily in the other than oneself” (p. 84). This is, of course, the source of most of the ugliness in the history of Humankind.

The Biblical explorations/interpretations presented are a high point of the book (see, for example, p. 63 on the Virgin Mary) and begin in earnest with the section on the shadow. The etymology of both biblical and mythological names given throughout add much to the discussion.

Shalit uses Oscar Wilde’s “doppelganger novel,” Picture of Dorian Gray, to explore the notion of shadow in terms of our duality, as Dorian is projecting his shadow onto the canvas. Duality—war/peace, animus/anima, masculine/feminine, dark/light—is prevalent throughout the book.

The second half of the book deals with the Enemy, Cripple, Beggar of the title. The Enemy (the projection onto the Other that is really the shadow in oneself) is explored through such Biblical figures as Amalek, Samson, Jacob, and the key figures in the trial of Jesus. The section on the Fathers and the Collective Consciousness, dealing with Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, Barabbas, and Judas, is fascinating reading. The connection of the father and the son resounds on many levels, including the relationship of Jesus/Judas as being nearly inseparable.

The Cripple (one’s weaknesses and inner wounds) is explored through mythological/fictional figures such as Hephaestus, Ptah, Oedipus, Quasimodo, and the child in Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Cripple.” There are case studies here that serve many of the same functions as the analyses of the myths and fairy tales, and will appeal to those interested in the dynamics of Jungian analysis. Certain aspects of the second case study reminded me of Don Juan DeMarco (1995), the film starring Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp, especially considering that love (Eros) is the means to heal the Cripple, as articulated so well in this book.

The final section deals with the Beggar (the “door that leads to the passageway of the Self,” p. 225), which is the Inner Voice or Daemon. Shalit deals here with the notions of alchemy that so fascinated Jung. I was intrigued by the story of King Solomon as the wandering beggar and Shalit’s exploration of the life of the prophet Elijah.

In closing, I want to mention the cover art, a painting titled “Emerging” by Susan Bostrom-Wong, an artist and Jungian analyst. Shalit asks the reader to examine the images embedded in the human figure. It is well worth the time to do so. Like the book itself, the longer you look, the more you will see.

I urge educators, artists, and those in search of new paths toward a life well-lived to buy this book. I know that one of my own heroes, Joseph Campbell, certainly would.

Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path and Erel Shalit's many other publications can be purchased by phoning Fisher King Press +1-831-238-7799 or skype: fisher_king_press.

This review of Erel Shalit’s Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path was written by Joey Madia of New Mystics. New Mystics is an online Arts community founded in 2002 by Joey Madia, playwright, poet, novelist, actor, director, artist, musician, and teacher who promotes the work of a group of cutting edge writers and artists. To learn more about New Mystics, Joey Madia, and his most recent publication Jester-Knight visit

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Give me that old time religion. It’s good enough for me . . . Or is it?

Perhaps that 'Old Time' religion has failed us, or at least the deeper meaning of symbols and metaphors have been lost to misinterpreted literalism and that 'old king,' religious fundamentalism. Blindly following old time beliefs and attitudes in their many forms and guises is following our forefathers right over the cliff and into a vast sea of disillusionment and meaninglessness. Will we repeat this by following along with a host of fundamentalist ideals, the endless pursuit of materialism at the expense of our ecology, and other forms of meaningless neurotic suffering, or we will be moved to willingly and consciously suffer the unknown, until these old time religious symbols become alive within and take on authentic meaning as opposed to being a useless, lifeless, hand-me-down relic?

Instead of completely running away from, or blindly following, perhaps we could begin to question these old religions and fundamentalisms, begin to confront and dialogue with these calcified God-Images, and find that lost nugget of gold - the transcendent. After all, like a reoccurring nightmare, these haunting literalized religious concepts and other 'old king' values will not go away until their embedded images are exposed and truly given their due.

Edward F. Edinger’s Transformation of the God-Image and Lawrence W. Jaffe’s Celebrating Soul are two fine Inner City Book publications that address such concerns.

Transformation of the God-Image
by Edward F. Edinger
with a foreword by Lawrence W. Jaffe

"Whoever knows God has an effect on him." C.G. Jung, Answer to Job.

From Lawrence W. Jaffe’s Foreword of Transformation of the God-Image:

Despite the Biblical imagery, this book is not concerned with traditional religion. Its subject, rather, is psychology, the scientific study of the soul. References are to Job, God and Christ because our deepest feelings still resonate to that imagery. Put another way, the reason for the Biblical references is because "Jungian psychology has the task of introducing to the world a new world view" (Edinger, Aion). The roots of this new world view lie in the Judeo-Christian myth.

If, as Edinger predicts, Jung's works are one day read as Scripture once was--for sustenance of our souls, for moving words that touch us to the heart, for reassurance, guidance and orientation--Answer to Job will surely occupy a unique place in the Jungian canon. The special status of Answer to Job as the most complete statement of Jung's essential message has long been acknowledged by Jungians, who have discussed it in countless seminars and conferences since its publication in 1952.

What has sparked all this interest is that the central theme of Answer to Job--the transformation of God through human consciousness--is the central theme, too, of Jungian psychology. Not long before his death Jung himself affirmed its importance, remarking that he would like to rewrite all of his books except Answer to Job, which he would leave just as it stands.

Answer to Job contains the kernel, the essence, of the Jungian myth, and Edinger's study of it, at once erudite and down-to-earth, thoughtful and heartfelt, evokes that essence with unequaled clarity and power.

Celebrating Soul: Preparing for the New Religion

by Lawrence Jaffe

‘Man has a soul and there is a treasure buried in the field.’ --C.G. Jung.

People are beginning to bump up against the limits of materialism and rationalism, realizing that these fail to offer something essential, a purpose in life. Although a few turn back to institutional religion for orientation, many find that road barred to them by their reason and their skepticism. Whatever form the new religion takes it must leave a large place for reason. The new religion will therefore be the product of a marriage between reason and faith, science and religion.

We cannot do without meaning in our lives. Meaning cannot be established objectively; it arises only through a relationship with the inner, subjective world. But it is precisely that realm that has been discredited in our day by the misapplication of the scientific spirit. In compensation, this book describes and gives examples of the inner life in order to help the reader sense the reality of the soul. It explores the spiritual significance of Jungian psychology--its message of personal and cultural renewal for a civilization that has lost its sense of purpose.

In Celebrating Soul, Lawrence Jaffe helps to expose what has been lost in literal translations and brings us into deeper relationship with the symbolic and metaphoric value of concerns such as:
* The New Religion
* The Jungian Myth
* Jungian Spirituality
* What Is Our Purpose in Life?
* The Hymn of the Pearl
* Breaking the Chain of Suffering
* The Golden Rule and the Iron Rule
* The Wounded Inner Child in the Bible
* The Lesson of Job
* The Meaning of Suffering
* Holding the Opposites As Service to God
* Wrestling with the Angel
* The Redemptive Value of Consciousness
* A New Form of Worship
* The Healing of Childhood Wounds
* Success Versus Consciousness
* Jung on the Life of Christ
* Studying Torah and Studying Jung
* Redemption Through Shadow Work
* A Psychological View of the First Commandment
* Testimony to the Holocaust
* Death and Resurrection
* Being "Born Again"
* Individuation and the Bible
* Jung and the Bible on Love
* New Life in Late Life
* A Psychological Gloss on a Benediction
* The Problem of Prayer
* Christ As a Model for Individuation
* Reason and Statistics
* Self-Knowledge Gives Meaning to Life
* The Answer Lies Within
* Psychotherapy As Sabbath

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looking for a few Good Men . . . Authentic, 21st Century Men, that is!

a review by Mel Mathews
of Resurrecting the Unicorn:
Masculinity in the 21st Century

Not long ago while listening to a NPR broadcast concerning Masculinity in the 21st Century, I was caught up by an interview of a woman journalist who had written about 'what it means to be a man in the 21st century.' The concept of a woman reporting on and defining, or attempting to define, masculinity was a bit off-putting. We tread on thin ice when a woman, or women define manhood and/or masculinity, just as we do when a man, or men attempt to define women and femininity. Sure, we all carry these contra-sexual aspects within, but that doesn’t make Man an authority on femininity, nor Woman an authority on masculinity, anymore than it makes a lefty an authority on a righty. The interview soon shifted away from a woman’s definition of masculinity and to pop-cultural definitions of manhood. Perhaps I was still ruffled by this lefty-righty thing, but I also considered it quite shallow to have masculinity or femininity defined by fleeting fashions of pop-culture, for as naturally as DNA defines genetics, archetypal patterns define the psychological and spiritual makeup of masculinity and femininity—not passing trends.

Now, speaking as a man about masculinity, I can say that many 21st century men have been raised by women—without a masculine role model—and what they've learned about being a man has been defined by the media, the women’s movement, and many other distorted social norms. Often, such men discover that they are no longer able or willing to carry these externally imposed values and instead seek alternative definitions of masculinity and lifestyles. Some would call these periods of change a crisis; others would consider this a step in the direction of mental health. Regardless of how we label this time of soul-searching, it ultimately calls for a willingness to suffer the unknown. The rewards for such courage often prove quite beneficial. For those willing to take on the task of becoming an 'authentic' man, one can expect to gain a more defined sense of self who is moved by his own internal values, and in turn experience a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

However, all the compensatory posturing, chest-pounding or drum-beating in the world won't revive this great masculine spirit. This can only be accomplished by developing a deeper relationship to soul, to the archetypal patterns or energies that comprise the core aspects of our beings. The mental landscape of metaphors—dreams, stories, myths, fairy tales—deal with the eternal truths of human nature and are the language of soul. In the recently published book Resurrecting the Unicorn: Masculinity in the 21st Century, Bud Harris masterfully guides readers deep into the realm of metaphors where we can examine the evolution and development of human consciousness and reclaim discarded, yet much needed, integral aspects of our masculine natures.

"True masculinity—not the macho type—is needed for men to be strong enough to meet the feminine in themselves. For this they must find their own masculine face—not a face defined by women," suggests Bud Harris in Resurrecting the Unicorn. Harris then delves into the fairy tale, "Fyrtoiet," better known as "The Tinder Box" by Hans Christian Andersen, where an "Elemental Blueprint for Developing Masculinity" is extracted from the symbolic metaphors of this wise old tale.

Perhaps it’s time to pick up where Robert Bly's Iron John and Sam Keen's Fire in the Belly left off in the last part of the 20th century. If you're ready to explore and claim an 'authentic' masculinity from a place that calls for a great deal of courage, where truth, values, and integrity are defined from within, not by antiquated beliefs or pop-culture, then Bud Harris' Resurrecting the Unicorn is certainly worthy of your time and attention.

Resurrecting the Unicorn: Masculinity in the 21st Century, ISBN 978-0-9810344-0-9 is available from the publisher, Fisher King Press by calling 1-831-238-7799. This timely publication is also available from your local bookstore and from a host of online booksellers.

Mel Mathews' book reviews have appeared in many syndicated publications. He is the author of the Malcolm Clay Trilogy, a series of novels that portray a man’s struggles as he goes against the grains of his upbringings and emerges as a renewed man who is guided by his own inner truth and hard-won wisdom. Learn more about this reviewer and his publications at:

Permission to reprint this article is granted.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Creativity and Healing

by Lawrence H. Staples, Ph.D.

In his book, The Restoration of the Self, Heinz Kohut wrote at length about psychically wounded people and the therapeutic methods he used to help them. He found none more effective, or so essential, as creative work. He found, importantly, that it made no difference whether the creative work was deemed good or artistic by any standards. The simple process of doing creative work helped restore the self. It is as if nature plants within us a built-in remedy for our worst affliction, the affliction of being separated from large parts of ourselves. We experience this separation as a kind of inner civil war that divides us internally. It produces the pain and suffering inherent in any civil war, whether in our internal world or outside. It seems that the human urge to do creative work is a compensatory impulse and blessing that arises from the psychic civil war that wounded us. In my own work as a psychoanalyst, I have witnessed the truth of Kohut’s findings. I have watched patients grow in wholeness as they began to work creatively in a variety of media that helped them recover and restore lost aspects of themselves.

Creative work mirrors us in a way we were often not mirrored by our parents. It mirrors us for the simple reason that we can see projected in it, if we look and interpret carefully, our own psychological and spiritual selves. Mirrors in all their manifold forms and guises help restore the wounded self.

Humans simply cannot see themselves without a mirror. Some mirrors, however, are better than others. Some are flawed or distorted so that we see ourselves, but only partially or inaccurately. From early on in life, we depend upon other humans to reflect us back to ourselves. But later in life, if we are lucky, we find that creative work and dreams mirror us more faithfully. We discover that human judgment taints and/or limits what is reflected back. Once we discover that we can mirror ourselves through creative work, we gain a modicum of self-sufficiency. We are no longer entirely dependent upon others to see us.

We may wonder why it is that humans cannot see themselves directly, why it is we can only see ourselves indirectly, as an image reflected by mirrors of various types. As we know any reflective surface, other humans, dreams, and our creative production can serve as mirrors to help us see ourselves as an indirect experience. The secret behind our need for reflective mirrors to see ourselves may be found in ancient wisdom, which informs us that to look into the face of God is to die. This wisdom says that to see the totality, to observe the Tremendum directly, is dangerous. We could infer from this wisdom that to see our own totality, our self, would be equally dangerous. It may explain why Perseus, powerful as he was, could not look at Medusa directly. He could only safely see her in the mirror provided by his shield. At the bottom of the unconscious, represented by the Labyrinth, he would find his own dark side, and could not look at it head on. It doesn’t take too much imagination to suspect that seeing the darkest side of God, or our self, could be a shattering experience. That may be why we hide our darkest side as assiduously as we can in the shadow, necessarily protected from our seeing it until a reflective mirror appears to reveal it to us safely.

As Kohut has observed, we do not have to be professional, creative artists to do creative work that helps us integrate and restore lost parts of ourselves. The integration of opposites takes place through the mirroring effect of the work and its symbols and images, regardless of whether or not our output is deemed by others to be artistic or good. It is the creative process that integrates opposites. It helps make us whole. It helps make us whole because it brings back to us the missing opposites that we early in life cut off from our psychic bodies.

An example of the attempt to integrate the opposites, and to make one’s self whole through art and its mirroring power, is provided by the life of Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist, whom I am sure most of you know.

Frida was raised by parents who could not have been more opposite. Her mother was Mexican, rigidly Catholic, cool and puritanical. Her mother had grown up in an age when Mexican women were not allowed to say the word buttocks; rather they would say “that which I sit on.” Nor could they say the word legs; rather “that which I stand on.” And, as in the movie Like Water for Chocolate, they were not allowed to look at their bodies. They were taught to feel guilt and shame about their bodies and themselves. Much of what we would call normal life today was cut off from them. Frida’s mother was severe and frowned on much of what Frida did and who she was.

Frida’s father was a Jew who had immigrated from Germany. He had a completely different cultural and religious experience from her mother. Many accounts report him to have been overly solicitous of and close with Frida, especially after she hurt her foot when she was nine years old. All the children in her family were girls and she became her father’s favorite, and tried to be the boy for him that he never had, but yearned for. She was torn by the wholly different views and values of her parents but behaved in ways that were more acceptable to her father. She was every bit the tomboy, but she was also a lively and mischievous young girl. In her life, she was very unconventional when compared to traditional Mexican women at the time. She drank, she smoked, she was bisexual, had several abortions, was assertive, and was successful in a chosen career in which she distinguished herself.

At the age of 16, Frida nearly died in a terrible accident, breaking her leg and foot, her vertebra in three places, and her shoulder and ribs. She was left partly crippled.

After she recovered, she began to paint. It was as if her paintings were a collage on which she was pasting herself back together. Her paintings were mostly self-portraits. She could literally see herself in her paintings, her mirrors. She was fascinated with her body, which her mother had disallowed. While she was recuperating, she had had a mirror installed over her bed. Some instinct led her to sense the deep need for mirroring that she had not received as a child. Raised in such rigidity, conflicting worldviews, and values, she was cut off from parts of herself, and her painting was an attempt to create her own mirror so that she could restore herself. Her accident when she was sixteen profoundly affected her life and her ability to live it fully. Her painting was essentially her autobiography and a healing endeavor.

Lawrence Staples has a Ph.D. in psychology; his special areas of interest are the problems of midlife, guilt, and creativity. Dr. Staples is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich, Switzerland, holds AB and MBA degrees from Harvard, and is the author of the popular Guilt with a Twist and the recently published The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day and The Father Quest

The Father Quest:Rediscovering an Elemental Force
by Bud Harris
ISBN 978-0-9810344-9-2

An in-depth focus on the spiritual and psychological dimensions of fatherhood, The Father Quest goes beyond simple prescriptions and techniques to explain the importance of fatherhood to our present day culture. The “Father” is one of the two great pillars of society that shape and support human life from the beginning. Readers who are struggling to be fathers, as well those who are struggling with their own fathers, will find healing ingredients to awaken an inner source of renewal and inspiration. One of many subjects explored is the critical importance of passion and love as key ingredients of the “spirit of fatherhood.”

Like Gold Through Fire:
Understanding the Transforming Power of Suffering
by Massimilla and Bud Harris
ISBN 978-0-9810344-5-4

Like Gold Through Fire helps readers to fathom the mystery of their own heart and guides them through life’s labyrinth toward fulfillment and joy. It emphasizes the transforming power of suffering, how it can change us and open our hearts to compassion and joy, and in turn provide for a more rewarding life filled with a wider range of experiences. Like Gold Through Fire helps us to find meaning and to function in a society filled with suffering—helps us to participate in the transformation, as opposed to being a victim of our rapidly changing world.

“A Herculean work . . . whose purpose is to help us fathom the depth of this mystery in our own hearts. The Harrises, in this marvelous book, help us begin this holy work.” —Robert Sardello, Ph.D., Author of Love and the Soul

Resurrecting the Unicorn :Masculinity in the 21st Century
by Bud Harris
—ISBN 978-0-9810344-0-9

Many 21st century men have been raised by women—without a masculine role model—and what they've learned about being a man has been defined by the media and distorted social norms. As is the case for both men and women, without a strong masculine image our souls become fragmented and we lose our way.

All the compensatory posturing, chest-pounding or drum-beating in the world won't revive this great masculine spirit! This can only be accomplished by developing a deeper relationship to soul. The mental landscape of metaphors—dreams, stories, myths, fairy tales—deal with the eternal truths of human nature and are the language of soul. In Resurrecting the Unicorn, Bud Harris guides us deep into the realm of metaphors so we can examine the evolution and development of human consciousness and reclaim discarded, yet much needed, aspects of our humanity.

Massimilla and Bud Harris are diplomates of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich, Switzerland. They are practicing Jungian analysts and the cofounders of the C.G. Jung Center for Professional development in Asheville, NC. Bud Harris is the author of several publications including Resurrecting the Unicorn: Masculinity in the 21st Century, Sacred Selfishness: A Guide to Living a Life of Substance and The Fire and the Rose: The Wedding of Spirituality and Sexuality.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Transiency and the Culture of Plastic

an article by Erel Shalit

Our post-modern era is characterized by increasing dislocation and fragmentation. The sense of permanence and constancy of old, is exchanged for temporality and fluidity, i.e., a condition of transiency. Not only do cars, trains and planes carry us across continents faster than most people once could imagine – perhaps with the exception of Jules Verne, but we travel cyberspace in zero-time. Speed in the era of transiency, makes the soulful road of the wanderer seem hopelessly obsolete.

Likewise, we are over-exposed to stimuli, information and images: once upon a time we would sit down and quietly look through the pictures of the past, the reminders of our childhood, enjoy a memory, recall days long gone by, share thoughts and feelings from a time that could be brought alive by the one photo from that day. Today, we are flooded by digital photos, numbered almost into infinity. Rarely do we remain more than seconds to glance at each photo, and even more rarely do we return to them – often unaware that what warrants no return, loses its soul.

It is by reflecting on the events in which we partake that we induce them with depth and meaning, but speed and superficiality seem to supersede depth and reflection.

We are flooded with images, but the onslaught of external images disrupts the flow of internal imagery. Excessive exteriority impinges upon the imagery of interiority.

In post-modern transiency everything is imaginable; yet, interiority is losing out to the externally produced image, which deceptively is taken for reality. The televised or computer-generated image no longer needs to be anchored in reality – it has become its own simulacrum, its own self-representation. As Baudrillard postulated, this may cause the erosion of our sense of the real.

Among the consequences of transiency, we find a weakening of the sense of meaning and of internal anchoring. The interiority of imagination is exchanged for the exteriority of imitation. In fact, Internet plagiarism has become a booming industry, and as has been said, “the intellectual tradition of inquiry is getting lost.” Caught up in viewing images from afar (tele-vision), we tend less to look around, nearby, or within. We search less for the meaning that is carried by the images and the symbols that arise from within the depths of ourselves, from our meaning- and symbol-forming self.

Thus, when our ego, as center of consciousness and our sense of conscious identity, is detached from its internal roots, the risk is it may lose its relative sense of unity and wholeness. While this may seemingly increase the ego’s flexibility and speedy adjustment to changing circumstances, the consequence is that it also lends itself indiscriminately to a multitude of appearances. An unintegrated, fragmented ego will all too easily put on any dress, without appropriate judgment –is it moral, what are the consequences? These questions pertain to the required ego functions. In fact, the wide variety of personae, of masks of appearance that are so easily accessible in cyberspace and the post-modern condition, easily take possession of the rootless ego, which may be drawn into a charade of transient (pseudo-) identities, such as blog-pseudonyms and second lives.

This, then, becomes a culture of plastic – plassein, i.e., “fit for molding,” to be cast into any shape, without character. Nearly half-a-century ago, Andy Warhol pointed at the culture of plastic, perhaps blurring the line between being a critical observer and a willing participator, his art embodying both an eye on the culture of production and the self-reproduction of culture. As Andy Warhol testified about himself, “Everybody's plastic, … I want to be plastic.”

Plastic has its definite advantages, and we can no longer live without it. However, plastic reflects something being synthetic and artificial, rather than natural and genuine. Plastic can, as well, be recast out of proportion, but what grows out of proportion is carcinogenic. With the benefits of plastic, and the idea and the cultural attitude that we may call ‘plastic,’ come its shadows, such as environmental harm, inauthenticity, imitation and reproduction rather than individual touch and feeling.

In a culture of plastic, the way we appear to the world, our persona, may be infinitely recast, find endless manifestations. In cyberspace, we easily hide behind pseudonyms and borrowed identities, whereby individual morality and responsibility are weakened. There is no function of the third, serving as intermediary, boundary and control.

For example, a man with a record of harassing women on internet chats, dreams that he is locked up in a prison cell. He hears the voice of an old man, who asks him questions that he must answer in order to be released. However, rather than listening and reflecting, he tries to escape, merely annoyed at the voice calling upon him. If he truly would wake up to understanding his guilt, the need for boundaries, and attending to his conscience, he might listen to the voice calling from within, that requires him to respond (responsibility; respondere, to pledge in return). The dream image portrays his avoidance of responsibility.

In a boundaryless space, where everything is free and accessible, and morality is weakening, everything can be borrowed, stolen, plagiarized or imitated. However, when imitation replaces imagination, representation is lost. Is not the ability to re-present basic to civilization? Did Einstein not claim that imagination is more important than knowledge, because knowledge remains limited, while imagination encircles the world?

Erel Shalit is a training and supervising analyst, and past president of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology. He is the author of several publications, including The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel and The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego. Articles of his have appeared in journals such as Quadrant, The Jung Journal, Spring Journal, Political Psychology, Clinical Supervisor, Midstream, and he has entries in The Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. Dr. Shalit lectures internationally at professional institutes, universities and cultural forums.

Order Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path by phoning +1-831-238-7799.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Being a Man in the 21st Century

Resurrecting the Unicorn—that's what Bud Harris and Fisher King Press have up their sleeves!

A few months ago, Bud Harris phoned and we visited about the possibility of bringing one of his out-of-print titles back into production. "What’s the title?" I asked. “Emasculation of the Unicorn: The loss and rebuilding of Masculinity in America,” Bud answered. My knees shuttered a bit before I crossed my legs. “We did quite well with this book and it has even been translated into Spanish,” Bud explained. “Well, why don’t you send a copy and we’ll have a look,” I answered, thinking, holy Moses, how the heck are we gonna sell a book titled Emasculation of anything?

The Emasculation of the Unicorn arrived a week or so later. After reading the first 15 to 20 pages I was thoroughly convinced that this book had been written and originally published before its time, in an era when men were reading Robert Bly’s Iron John and desperately gathering in vain on weekend retreats in hopes of reclaiming their lost masculinity, in an era when we were just beginning to understand that something wasn’t quite right—when we were just beginning to realize that things were out of balance. The men’s movement of the 90s withered and fell along the wayside, as so many fads do, but the issues at hand did not go away—instead, they faded back into shadowland. But as we know, sooner or later, these discarded images come back to haunt us, and that’s where Bud Harris, Fisher King Press, and a revised edition of the Unicorn, Resurrecting the Unicorn comes into play to pick up the scattered pieces that were left behind in the 20th century.

Unicorns, being strong and wild, are usually associated with the lion, the eagle, and the dragon. Ancient stories of the unicorn exist in almost every culture: in the world of the Old Testament, in Persia, India, China, as well as in the West. In one legend the unicorn was so strong and independent it refused to enter the ark and swam throughout the flood. It was also believed that the horn of the unicorn signified health, strength and happiness, and to drink from it cured or provided immunity to incurable diseases.

During the Middle Ages the unicorn symbolized the creative masculine spirit, so fierce and powerful that only a virgin could tame him and only then through deception. When we speak of the unicorn and the virgin, we are speaking of two great sets of psychological opposites, the masculine and feminine principles seeking balance and reconciliation. The unicorn represents male vitality, the rampant and penetrating force of the masculine spirit. The virgin represents his receptive feminine aspect.

Myth tells us that through the virgin's deception, the unicorn was delivered into the hands of human hunters who killed and allowed its red blood to flow. From this betrayal the uni-corn was transformed and resurrected; he became the powerful energy contained in the virgin's holy garden next to the Tree of Life. So, reviving a healthy masculine spirit does not entail denying our feminine natures—quite the contrary. Honoring both of these inter-dependent aspects of our psyches is vital to living a balanced life.

In the present day, our culture's evolving masculine spirit seems to be sputtering out. We began with that powerful, creative spirit, and somewhere along our path, phallus has been rendered impotent. The unicorn, that wondrous masculine symbol, has been reduced to a limp-horned stuffed animal found in novelty stores—or worse yet, discarded to a dusty old shelf of a second-hand thrift shop.

Resurrecting the Unicorn addresses the impoverished state of masculinity in the 21st century. Without a strong masculine image, our souls become fragmented and we lose our way. In fact, this is how many men feel today—and women, too—as we all have these inner components. When we are in such a state of psychological confusion and imbalance, we must begin again to search for the "Holy Grail." The Grail is the symbolic container of the psycho-spiritual contents that can nourish, balance, and renew our lives.

All the compensatory posturing, chest-pounding or drum-beating in the world won't revive this great masculine spirit! This can only be accomplished by developing a deeper relationship to soul. The mental landscape of metaphors—dreams, stories, myths, fairy tales—deal with the eternal truths of human nature and are the language of soul. In Resurrecting the Unicorn, Bud Harris guides us deep into the realm of metaphors so we can examine the evolution and development of human consciousness and reclaim discarded, yet much needed, aspects of our humanity.

Bud 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 Sacred Selfishness: A Guide to Living a Life of Substance and The Fire and the Rose: The Wedding of Spirituality and Sexuality.

Resurrecting the Unicorn:
Masculinity in the 21st Century
ISBN 978-0981034409
Available from your local bookstore,
from a host of online booksellers,
and directly from Fisher King Press.

Friday, May 15, 2009

News Release: The Sister From Below

With Great Pleasure Fisher King Press announces the publication of:

The Sister From Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way 
by Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
(Recent recipient of the for Obama Millennium first prize writing award.)

Who is this Sister from Below? She’s certainly not about the ordinary business of life: work, shopping, making dinner. She speaks from other realms. If you’ll allow, She’ll whisper in your ear, lead your thoughts astray, fill you with strange yearnings, get you hot and bothered, send you off on some wild goose chase of a daydream, eat up hours of your time. She’s a siren, a seductress, a shape-shifter . . . Why listen to such a troublemaker? Because She is essential to the creative process: She holds the keys to the doors of our imaginations and deeper life—the evolution of Soul.

The Sister emerges out of reverie, dream, a fleeting memory, a difficult emotion—she is the moment of inspiration—the muse. Naomi Ruth Lowinsky writes of nine manifestations in which the muse visits her, stirring up creative ferment, filling her with ghosts, mysteries, erotic teachings, the old religion—bringing forth her voice as a poet. Among these forms of the muse are the “Sister from Below,” the inner poet who has spoken for the soul since language began. The muse also appears as the ghost of a grandmother Naomi never met, who died in the Shoah—a grandmother with ‘unfinished business.’ She visits in the form of Old Mother India, whose culture Naomi visited as a young woman. She cracks open her Western mind, flooding her with many gods and goddesses. She appears as Sappho, the great lyric poet of the ancient world, who engages her in a lovely midlife fantasy. She comes as “Die Ür Naomi,” an old woman from the biblical story for which Naomi was named, who insists on telling Her version of the Book of Ruth. And in the end, surprisingly, the muse appears in the form of a man, a long dead poet whom Naomi loved in her youth.

The Sister from Below is a personal story, yet universal, of giving up a creative calling because of life’s obligations, and being called back to it in later life. This Fisher King Press publication describes the intricate patterns of a rich inner life; it is a traveler’s memoir, with outer journeys to Italy, India and a Neolithic cave in Bulgaria, and inward journeys to biblical Canaan and Sappho’s Greece; it is filled with mythic experience, a poet’s story told. The Sister conveys the lived experience of the creative life, a life in which active imagination—the Jungian technique of engaging with inner figures—is an essential practice.

The Sister speaks to all those who want to cultivate an unlived promise—those on a spiritual path, those interested in a Jungian approach to life, those who are filled with the urgency of poems that have to be written, paintings that must be painted, journeys that yearn to be taken…

Here's what others are saying about The Sister from Below:
“Naomi Lowinsky has given us a remarkable, fearless, and full autobiography. Speaking in poetic, psychologically sensitive, scholarly dialogues with her shape-shifting muse, she has created a new form . . . This is a beautiful book to treasure and spread among worthy friends.”
—Sylvia Perera, Author of Descent to the Goddess and Celtic Queen Maeve and Addiction.
“. . . Naomi Ruth Lowinsky offers us a superbly detailed investigation of the powerful, mythic forces of the world as they are revealed to the active creative self. Don’t miss this enlightening and fascinating book.”
—David St. John, Author of Study for the World’s Body: New and Selected Poems and Prism.

“Naomi’s poetry and prose is infused with the suffering and joys of humans everywhere. Insightful and deeply moving, she brings us the food and water of life.”
—Joan Chodorow, Author of Dance Therapy and Depth Psychology, Editor of C.G. Jung on Active Imagination.

“A passionate love letter to those who yearn to be heard. A must read for every woman who longs to write poetry.”
—Maureen Murdock, Author of The Heroine’s Journey and Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory.

“Naomi Ruth Lowinsky reinterprets mythic and historical reality in provocative versions of the stories of Eurydice, Helen, Ruth, Naomi, and Sappho. The voice of the Sister from Below argues, cajoles, prods, explains, and yes, loves her human counterpart, and becomes the inspiration for Lowinsky’s stunning poetry in this highly original book.”
—Betty de Shong Meador, Author of Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart and Princess, Priestess, Poet.

In addition to The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way and The Motherline: Every Woman’s Journey to Find Her Female Roots, Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is the author of numerous prose essays, many of which have been published in Psychological Perspectives and The Jung Journal. She has had poetry published in many literary magazines and anthologies, among them After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery, Weber Studies, Rattle, Atlanta Review, Tiferet and Runes. Her two poetry collections, red clay is talking (2000) and crimes of the dreamer (2005) were published by Scarlet Tanager Books. Naomi is a Jungian analyst in private practice and poetry and fiction editor of Psychological Perspectives.

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky has recently been awarded first prize in the Obama Millennium contest for her poem “Madelyn Dunham, Passing On” in which she imagines the spirit of of Obama’s deceased grandmother visiting him as he speaks to the crowds in Chicago after his election. The poem will be published in the literary magazine New Millennium Writings this fall.

The Sister from Below:
When the Muse Gets Her Way 
—ISBN 978-0-9810344-2-3

Published by and available for purchase directly from Fisher King Press.
Also available from your local bookstore, and a host of on-line booksellers.
Publication Date: June 1st, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

News Release: The Motherline

With Great Pleasure Fisher King Press announced the publication of:

The Mothering: Every Woman's Journey to Find Her Female Roots

by Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
(Recent recipient of the for Obama Millennium first prize writing award.)

Our mothers are the first world we know, the source of our lives and stories. Embodying the mysteries of origin, they tie us to the great web of kin and generation. Yet, the voice of their experience is seldom heard. The Motherline describes a woman’s journey to find her roots in the personal, cultural, and archetypal realms. It was written for women who have mothers, are mothers, or are considering motherhood, and for the men who love them. Telling the stories of women whose maturation has been experienced in the cycle of mothering, it urges a view of women that does not sever mother from daughter, feminism from “the feminine,” body from soul.

Here what a few reviewers have had to say about The Motherline:

“(In) this perceptive and penetrating study . . . (Naomi Ruth Lowinsky) imaginatively applies Jungian, feminist and literary approaches to popular attitudes about . . . mothers and daughters and movingly, to personal experience.”
—Publisher’s Weekly

“A combination of years of scholarship and recordings of personal journeys, this book belongs in every woman’s psychology/spirituality collection.”
—Library Journal

“In this accessible volume, Jungian psychologist Lowinsky explores the pain that women feel when their mother-love is undervalued or erased.”
—ALA Booklist
In addition to The Motherline: Every Woman’s Journey to Find Her Female Roots and The Sister from Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way, Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is the author of numerous prose essays, many of which have been published in Psychological Perspectives and The Jung Journal. She has had poetry published in many literary magazines and anthologies, among them After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery, Weber Studies, Rattle, Atlanta Review, Tiferet and Runes. Her two poetry collections, red clay is talking (2000) and crimes of the dreamer (2005) were published by Scarlet Tanager Books. Naomi is a Jungian analyst in private practice and poetry and fiction editor of Psychological Perspectives.

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky has recently been awarded first prize in the Obama Millennium contest for her poem “Madelyn Dunham, Passing On” in which she imagines the spirit of of Obama’s deceased grandmother visiting him as he speaks to the crowds in Chicago after his election. The poem will be published in the literary magazine New Millennium Writings this fall.

The Motherline: 
Every Woman’s Journey to Find Her Female Roots
—ISBN 978-0-9810344-6-1
Published by and available for purchase directly from Fisher King Press.
Also available from your local bookstore, and a host of on-line booksellers.
Publication Date: June 1st, 2009