Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why the Guilt Cure?

As work on our first book Guilt with a Twist unfolded, we began to notice that the importance of guilt extended far beyond its moral purposes and functions. We began to see that guilt’s place in the maintenance of the moral and legal order was far less important than guilt’s role in psychic self-regulation and in the creation and maintenance of human consciousness. Near the end of Guilt With A Twist we realized we had hit upon some ground breaking ideas that advanced a new theory of guilt. We touched on these broader and more important ideas of guilt but didn’t explore them in any depth. Because of the limited treatment, they ran the risk of being lost or overlooked in the swarm of other themes and materials. The fear of losing these ideas among less important material prompted us to write The Guilt Cure.

In Guilt with a Twist, we focused on the necessity to incur guilt in order to live life fully. We explored in depth the ways guilt, in its conventional role of maintaining the legal and moral order, could interfere with psychological development. In The Guilt Cure, we focus on the necessity to incur guilt if we are to live at all.

In our more than 25 years of practice, we have accumulated an enormous amount of material that is relevant to dealing with guilt in a clinical setting. Because of guilt’s paradoxical and contradictory nature, the clinical material did not fit as well in Guilt With A Twist as it does The Guilt Cure. Guilt has a profound effect on our mental health and wellbeing and we were glad that this very important and interesting material lent itself to integration with the other contents of The Guilt Cure.

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Nancy Carter Pennington received her MSW from The University of Maryland. For more than 30 years, Nancy has had the privilege of working with clients on a range of issues: phobias, OCD, grief, depression, obsessive thinking, guilt, and relationships. Lawrence H. Staples is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Washington, DC. Dr. Staples has an MBA from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in psychology; his special areas of interest are the problems of midlife, guilt, and creativity. He is the author of Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way and The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness.

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, December 22, 2011

The Definitive Journey

From Enemy, Cripple, Beggar

The hero who searches for new paths in his heart and soul often lets hints and hunches guide him forward. Yet, he also needs to be equipped with courage to search beyond the boundaries of common ground and with humbleness towards the unknown that lies ahead of him. He must also carry a bagful of questions and concerns, curiosity and conflict, doubt and fear; “Every man hath the right to doubt his task, and to forsake it from time to time; but what he must not do is forget it.” Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain, p. 53.

Erel Shalit titles are on Sale now at the Fisher King Press online bookstore.

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 17, 2011

Healing Today

by Steven A. Galipeau

Modern medicine comes down to us from Galen and Hippocrates, Greek physicians who were part of the ancient cult of Asklepios, the god of healing. According to myth, Asklepios, the son of Apollo, learned the healing arts from the centaur Chiron. He learned easily and became more skilled than his mentor, even succeeding in raising the dead. But this stirred the wrath of Hades, who complained to Zeus about the encroachment on his domain. Zeus responded by killing Asklepios. But after death Asklepios was given a place among the gods, from which, it was said, he affected even greater cures than before.

From Greece, the worship of Asklepios spread throughout the ancient world. More than four hundred temples were built from Egypt to Rome, with the most famous at Epidauros. The temples existed for one thousand years. Their disappearance coincided with the development of the healing shrines of the various saints—the most recent example being that at Lourdes.

Clearly, then, modern medical science has religious roots. Today’s surgery and pharmacology dominate a healing discipline that evolved from direct experience—usually through dreams—of the god of healing. Along with other aspects of ancient religions, the sacred practices of Asklepios were incorporated into Christianity. People began making pilgrimages to the gravesites of saints and martyrs associated with healing. As with Asklepios, the reports of healing became significantly more dramatic after the saints’ death—when, presumably, they became channels of God’s healing power.

Coincidentally, Christ’s death and resurrection bear parallels to the story of Asklepios. Jesus also raised the dead, and in John’s gospel he meets his own death after the raising of Lazarus. Afterward he ascends to heaven, taking his place with God. Then he emerges to dispense divine grace and healing.

In the absence of a gravesite for Christ, the graves of certain saints became the precincts where one could seek healing from God. As such sites proliferated and Christianity came to dominate the Mediterranean world, the temples of Asklepios yielded their place. Medieval physicians continued the medical science begun by Galen and Hippocrates and originally inspired by the Greek god of healing.

During the renaissance and the age of enlightenment, the scientific side of medicine began to grow, while the spiritual side declined. Healing was seen more and more in concrete, biological terms: illness was physiologically caused and could be remedied through medicine or surgery. By the end of the nineteenth century this became the exclusive view.

Early in the twentieth century, significant challenges to this approach began to emerge. As physicians studied certain cases more closely, they realized that some physical symptoms had emotional and psychological causes. Such cases gave impetus to Freud, Jung, and other early depth psychologists. A purely biological view of illness, they saw, was not enough—psychological and spiritual factors were also significant. With depth psychology and psychosomatic medicine, medical practice has been returning to its origins in the cult of Asklepios.(1)

According to Greek myth, Asklepios had two sons, Machaon and Podaleirios. Machaon was the first surgeon, while Podaleirios healed “invisible” ills, including those of the soul.(2) The work of Machaon has developed into today’s medical practice. That of Podaleirios was absorbed into the healing cults of the saints and has gradually died out. It has so thoroughly disappeared from our religious institutions that the quest for meaning and the religious nature of the psyche frequently turn up in the psychotherapist’s office. The loss from our churches of what Podaleirios represented is felt both inside and outside organized religion.

Depth psychology allows the forgotten side of the Greek god of healing to be recovered. Inner experiences crucial to healing become available once more. However, it offers more than a recovery of the healing of Asklepios; it opens the door for a recovery of the healing work of Jesus. Like the cult of Asklepios, Jesus’s healing reflects the profound importance of spiritual and psychological elements. But while Asklepios, and the Christian cults that followed him, focused on the divine physician or god of healing, Jesus also stressed human interaction and human feeling. He carried on aspects of the ancient traditions of the shamans, human beings with healing personalities.(3) While linked to shamanism, Jesus also prefigures depth psychology. In a sense he was the first depth psychologist, preceding Freud and Jung by nineteen hundred years.

As we have seen, the healing that Jesus practiced and tried to pass on became lost as his divinity was proclaimed. Legends grew up around him after his death—the healing cult of the proclaimed divinity—but the fully human healer disappeared. Depth psychology allows us to renew not only the ancient religious roots of the physician, but also the shamanistic style of healing—in which the psyche lives fully in the interaction between two people.

The future of the church hinges on its capacity to integrate such healing into its life. The growing numbers who journey to the psychotherapist’s office nowadays demonstrate the desire and need for this. The church’s recovery of healing in the decades ahead will go a long way in determining whether it answers Jesus’s call, or whether the task will be left to others.

You've just read an article from Steven A. Galipeau's Transforming Body and Soul: Therapeutic Wisdom in the Gospel Healing Stories

Steven Galipeau is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Calabasas, California and President and Executive Director of Coldwater Counseling Center in Studio City.  A member of the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, he teaches in the analyst training program and lectures regularly in public programs on a wide variety of topics related to Jungian psychology.  In addition to Transforming Body & Soul,  Steve is also the author of The Journey of Luke Skywalker: An Analysis of Modern Myth and Symbol.

1. C.A. Meier, Ancient Incubation and Modern Psychotherapy.
2. C. Kerenyi, Asklepios: Archetypal Image of the Physician’s Existence.
3. John A. Sanford, Healing and Wholeness. Chapter 3, “The Divine Physician,” and Chapter 4, “The Ecstatic Healer,” amplify some of the differences between the inner divine healer and the shamanistic healer.
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. 

Transcendent Traditions: A New Myth

by Deldon Anne McNeely
The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.
–Teilhard de Chardin, quoted in Michael Reagan's The Hand of God
There are many schools of psychological and/or spiritual development. One essential feature that distinguishes Jung’s way of individuation from other ways is “shadow work.” Let us look at what that entails.

Jung belongs to a large number of visionaries who realized that humanity in the modern world needed psychological and spiritual renewal. Not that Jung claimed to start a spiritual group movement. He tried to show a way for individuals to step back from a darkly materialistic age and find solace in their own gifts from the unconscious. But he also realized that the fear that seizes us when faced with the unknown keeps us from wanting to know the unconscious and irrational factors in ourselves, even our spiritual dimensions.

When I was a child I heard that Jesus and Mary sometimes appeared to people in visions, as happened to Bernadette of Lourdes. The thought of being visited by a divine being terrified me so, that I prayed to Jesus and Mary to please not choose to come to me. I suppose I knew intuitively that my ego could not withstand such an infusion of psychic energy. Many people experience a similar terror in the presence of a psychotic person, or the first time they attend a religious ceremony at which some people give in to spiritual ecstasy and lose consciousness. It is hard to give up ego-control.

Jung’s special contribution to the effort to renew spiritual life was his insight into the unconscious complexes that interfere with our most sincere plans and intentions. The most devout and altruistic of us are not exempt from being undermined and deceived from within. Jung was insistent that our first responsibility was to clear up any one-sided fixations of our own unexamined evils onto others of different beliefs, traditions, ethnicities, and personality types. In Jungian terms we call this working on becoming aware of our “Shadow.”

Many spiritual movements ignore the importance of this psychological fact and end in power struggles, divisive squabbles over details, and split-loyalties between members. This is why Jungians place so much importance on clearly individual psychological work while searching for spiritual nourishment. Unless we deal with our inner conflicts, we thrust them into any group efforts we attempt. They color and pollute our religious institutions.

It is possible for a person to acquire a dominant spiritual life and still remain emotionally infantile, unable to negotiate psychological pitfalls. Jung’s efforts were to help us secure a solid relationship with physical and social reality as well as spiritual reality. Power-hungry gurus, abusive priests, charlatan preachers, extravagant church funds, censors of books and information-sources by which institutions protect their authority are ways people’s personal complexes poison their spirituality.

Edward Edinger wrote that Jung’s work, which Edinger calls a “new myth,” has the capacity to unite all the religions of the world. It is not one more religious myth in competition with all the others; rather, it elucidates every other religion:
The new myth can be understood and lived within one of the great religious communities such as Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., or in some new community yet to be created, or by individuals without specific community connections…. For the first time in history we now have an understanding of man so comprehensive and fundamental that it can be the basis for a unification of the world — first religiously and culturally and, in time, politically. When enough individuals are carriers of the “consciousness of wholeness,” the world itself will become whole. (Edinger, The Creation of Consciousness, p. 32.)
Shadow work is the leveler of all factions. Marvin Spiegelman, an analyst who has written autobiographical accounts of his relationship to Jung and religion, had a dream as a youth which pertains to this possibility of unity as expressed by Edinger as well as by others, such as the philosopher, Teilhard de Chardin. The dream was that three wise men, a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a Buddhist priest, were coming to visit a new divine child. The dream led him to believe that some new way of approaching the God-image is emerging in the psyche. He might have taken it to mean that this was happening in him as a single, personal experience, but he later learned that Jung was having the same idea. Here is what Spiegelman says about his dream:
This newer experience of the divine is to be found in a reconciliation among the religions of the world and their ability to worship and connect with a new content. I think that this content, which independently emerged both in Jung and others, is a kind of psycho-religious attitude, if one can use such a word. The qualities of this attitude are: the divine transcends us all; there are many paths to it, all of which have truth or are part of a whole; all paths are worthy, none better than others; none need be transcended; all religions find their origin in the nature of the soul itself and how the divine manifests therein. This is surely a Hindu view, a Buddhist view, a Jewish view, a Christian view, but only for some sects or branches of each one…. There seems to be more expectation or desire that the new divine child, “savior,” is to appear outside ourselves rather than inside. Thus there is the awaited Messiah, Second Coming, the fulfillment of prophecy, and in a more modern vein, the sense that our earth will encounter consciousness from other planets or stars. They are probably right, but it is Jung’s—and Buddhism’s—gift to us to look for that emergence from within our own souls. So we all will have a lot to do with ourselves until that outer Buddha, Christ, Messiah, appears. God willing, it will be synchronistic. It is noted in Jewish lore, that when every Jew observes Shabbat, the Messiah will appear. To extrapolate, when all of us are in tune with the Divine Presence, HE / SHE / IT will manifest among us all. (Spiegelman and Miyuki, Buddhism and Jungian Psychology, pp. 188-189.)
This optimistic picture seems far from possible in this age of religious strife, holy wars, and philosophical attacks on a principle of unity. But throughout history there have been men like Jung, Edinger, and Spiegelman who stand for the power of the uniting principle to transform what often appears doomed: life in the universe, and at least, the life of the soul.

Jung was not in the business of starting a new religion. Born into a Christian worldview, he was inquiring into why religion, particularly Christianity, his tradition, was not meaningful to many who called themselves Christian in name only. Their connection to their religion seemed dead, but they carried on as if they still believed what they were doing. In his research into the problem, he discovered that the religious component of psyche is deep and universal. Beneath layers of conscious material is a center, like a fountain of psychic energy, which enlivens the mind and heart and asks to be honored. It makes itself known to us through symbols which attract us and touch us emotionally. He called it the Self and realized that our notions of God spring from that center of energy.

When we are in touch with that center, we understand the religious experience. It comes alive with awe, but it may or may not resonate to the usual religious symbols; it gives us a personal relationship with a divinity or divinities that may or may not include our known institutional symbols, pictures, stories or formal rituals to which we are accustomed. The new myth has appeal to atheists and all who experience a need for integrity without a specific god-image.

For Jung the way that we express religious wonder was not the point. The point is to experience the deepest layers of the unconscious, or Self, where our divinity makes itself known. This is dangerous, however, because we can transfer the energy from the source to our own aggrandizement. Without humility, humankind can become so selfish that we can destroy our civilization and planet. Atheism is not in itself destructive. Many atheists are humanists who put the dignity of man above their own needs and achieve a lifestyle that is respectful and compassionate. But without the leaven of humility and gratitude toward something beyond the personal, Jung feared we would become victims of power hunger, with the power that belonged to the Self transferred to our egos. This raises the issue of the basic goodness of human beings. Was Jung right? Do we need a deep relationship to the transcendent layer of psyche to evolve morally, or can we do it from a purely human perspective and from the layer of conscious ego?

Philosopher Simone Weil thought that without a concept of the supernatural, human relationships would be dominated by the powerful, not by mutual consent. What is natural is for humans to assert themselves whenever possible, and if our conception of God is of a commanding being who favors one side over another and uses his power to cause events, then any atrocity can be committed in the name of such a god. Weil calls such religions false. A true religion is one which holds supernatural values and inspires one to practice supernatural degrees of justice, friendship, and so on. For example, one treats as equals those who are below him in strength and status and does not take advantage to accumulate power. (Morgan, Weaving the World: Simone Weil on Science, Mathematics, and Love.)

Spiritual leaders as well as atheists risk assuming the power of the Self for their own aggrandizement. The power exuded by a charismatic leader attracts followers who need the charge, so the inflation of the leader continues to be fed. Jung’s injunction to continually look at our shadow prevents inflation and encourages humility.

Jung suggested that the way humankind can honor the religious instinct without being pulled apart and destroyed by it is to maintain a dialogue with that inner source from which all religions spring:
This is a thought that goes beyond the Christian world of ideas and involves a mystery consummated in and through man. It is as though the drama of Christ’s life were, from now on, located in man as its living carrier. As a result of this shift, the events formulated in dogma are brought within range of psychological experience and become recognizable in the process of individuation. (“Mysterium Coniunctionis,” CW 14, par. 650.)
How do we carry this particularly Christian drama in a way that feels alive? Christian mystics live out Jung’s thought that the birth of God in the human soul is a constantly repeated event, an ongoing act of creation. Jungian psychoanalyst John Dourley says:
The soul which is in some sense the creature of God is needed by God to mediate God’s energies to consciousness… God’s birth in the soul… Mary’s virgin birth is a symbol for processes of psychological and spiritual maturation which are universal and true of both genders… God seeks to be born again and again in the soul. (Dourley, A Strategy for a Loss of Faith, p. 125.)
Such an attitude does not apply only to Christians. As Edinger explains: “We are in a position to begin to understand scientifically, and generally, the psychological entities that generate religions.” (Edinger, Science of the Soul, p. 58.) Because we are on such an edge of self-destruction, Jung called this time in human development “a moment of deadliest peril.” (“The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious,” CW 9i, par. 217.) Jung’s hope was that enough people would encounter the Greater Personality to effectively inoculate the culture against inflation as atheism and inflation as religious fanaticism.

“The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine,” said Sir James Jeans. (Jeans, quoted in Wilbur, Quantum Questions, p. 133.)

You have just read an article from Deldon Anne McNeely's Becoming: An Introduction to Jung's Concept of Individuation

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 Touching: Body Therapy and Depth Psychology; Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine; and Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods.

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

Just Published by Fisher King Press

The Hero and His Shadow:  
Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel
Revised Edition - ISBN 9781926715698
By Erel Shalit

In an era in which all seemed to dwell in the self-imposed solitary confinement of virtual reality, life in vitro behind the screen, the young take to the streets and gather in the squares. Attempting to break the bonds of oppressive regimes and cold-hearted mammonism, they have raised their voice across the globe, demanding freedom, solidarity, and justice. Will these voices persevere to withstand the strong, silencing forces of darkness, of ruthlessness and oppression? Will the Voice of Wisdom be listened to, so that we may “dwell safely, without fear of evil.” (Prov. 1:33)

The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel introduces a psychological perspective on the history, development, and myths of modern Israel.

The realization of Zionism relied on the pioneer, who revolted against the Way of the Father and sought spiritual redemption through the revival of Mother Earth in the ancient land. Myth and history, psyche and matter are constantly intertwined in the birth and development of Israel, for example when in the Declaration of Independence we are told that pioneers make deserts bloom, the text actually says they make spirits blossom.

Pioneer, guardsman and then warrior were admired hero-ideals. However, in the shadow of the hero and the guiding myths of revolt, redemption, strength and identity-change, are feelings of despair, doubt, weakness and fear.  Within renewal, lurks the threat of annihilation.

Suppressed aspects of past and present myths, which linger in the shadow, are exposed. Psychological consequences of Israel’s wars, from independence to the present war of terror, are explored on a personal note and from a psychoanalytic perspective. Shadow aspects of the conflicting guiding myths Peace and Greater Israel are examined, as well as mythical connections, such as between Jerusalem and the respective archetypal images of Wholeness and Satan.

Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Ra’anana, Israel. He is the author of several publications, including Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path, The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego, and Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return. Dr. Shalit lectures at professional institutes, universities, and cultural forums in Israel, Europe, and the United States.

Product Details
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Fisher King Press; Revised edition (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1926715698
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Annunciation and Mythos

    by Mariann Burke
    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.”(1) 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.

    Some of these “windows” would eventually open for me into other images of Mary, as Virgin Mother, Black Madonna, and Wisdom Sophia. But, at that moment down in my basement study, I was captivated only by the Annunciation. I longed to see other artists’ versions of the scene. In Milan, Arezzo or Florence, I sat in churches just looking at sculptures and frescoes. In museums, I marveled at the number of artists who had painted the scene with such depth, delicacy and power. Now these images of Mary, masterpieces from another age, stirred something vital within me. Writing these pages helped awaken me to their personal and symbolic meaning.

    Over many years of paying attention to images from my unconscious in dreams and in artistic works, I was beginning to “see” a connection between the image and myself. I had known that through the history of Christianity there have been two ways of interpreting images or symbols: the historical and the poetic or imaginative. I had been exposed to the historical or literal. Now I began to realize that the two are not mutually exclusive. Early Christians honored both approaches but the historical and literal gradually took precedence. In this view the Annunciation is something that happened in the past. In the poetic or mythic approach, we are not so much viewing an image as experiencing it. My personal experience and my study of Jung would open me to see the Annunciation not as history, but as something happening now.(2) Taken in this way, the image reflects something within me. Like a dream, the image is happening within.

    Certainly this is not new, for mystics of every religious tradition are “seers.” And the early Christian Gnostics valued the inner knowledge of God, but they were regarded as heretics. The thirteenth century Dominican Meister Eckhart suffered a similar fate for expressing his beliefs that God and the soul are somehow united. One of Eckhart’s favorite sayings found in his sermons is that the Divine Birth is always happening. If it does not happen within our soul, of what value is it? This insight we find echoed in the writings of Angelus Silesius, a seventeenth century mystic, speaking of the Annunciation:
    If by God’s Holy Ghost thou art beguiled,
    There will be born in thee the Eternal Child.
    If it’s like Mary, virginal and pure
    Then God will impregnate your soul for sure.
    God make me pregnant, and his Spirit shadow me,
    That God may rise up in my soul and shatter me.
    What good does Gabriel’s ‘Ave, Mary’ do
    Unless he give me that same greeting too?(3)

    1. 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.
    2. Joseph Campbell, The Mythic Image, p. 58.
    3. C.G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW, Vol. 14, p. 319.

    You're just read an excerpt from Mariann Burke's:

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Marked By Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way

    Marked By Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way
    The Fisher King Review, Volume 1 - Inaugural Edition
    Edited by Patricia Damery and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

    "This life is the way, the long sought after way to the unfathomable which we call divine" —C.G. Jung, The Red Book

    Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way is a soulful collection of essays that illuminate the inner life.

    When Soul appeared to C.G. Jung and demanded he change his life, he opened himself to the powerful forces of the unconscious. He recorded his inner journey, his conversations with figures that appeared to him in vision and in dream in The Red Book. Although it would be years before The Red Book was published, much of what we now know as Jungian psychology began in those pages, when Jung allowed the irrational to assault him. That was a century ago.

    How do those of us who dedicate ourselves to Jung’s psychology as analysts, teachers, writers respond to Soul’s demands in our own lives?  If we believe, with Jung, in “the reality of the psyche,” how does that shape us? The articles in Marked By Fire portray direct experiences of the unconscious; they tell life stories about the fiery process of becoming ourselves.

    Contributors to this edition of the Fisher King Review include: Jerome Bernstein, Claire Douglas, Gilda Frantz, Jacqueline Gerson, Jean Kirsch, Chie Lee, Karlyn Ward, Henry Abramovitch, Sharon Heath, Dennis Patrick Slattery, Robert Romanyshyn, Patricia Damery, and Naomi Ruth Lowinsky.

    Product Details
    Paperback & eBook editions: 150 pages (estimate)
    Trim Size 9.25" x 7.5"
    Publisher: Fisher King Press; 1st edition (April 2012)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1-926715-68-3
    ISBN-13: 978-1-926715-68-1
    Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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      Friday, December 2, 2011

      A Cyclic Perspective

      In his “Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower,” Jung writes, “Everything of which we are conscious is an image, and that image is psyche.” He then continues, “the psyche is a world in which the ego is contained.”

      This statement reflects Jung’s cyclic perspective, as well as the centrality of the image in Analytical Psychology. It is not an ego-psychology; the world of the psyche does not reside in the ego; rather, what we call ego is contained in a world we call psyche. The Jungian approach to man’s psyche is situated at the edge between consciousness and the unconscious—never fully established on the empirical ground of ego-reality, its natural habitat is on mountainous myths, or wandering off into fairy tale forests.

      For the same reason, Jungian psychoanalysis has many names, reflecting Hermetic movement rather than Apollonian authority, and the elusive images of the soul take the place of the well-defined mechanisms of the mind.

      The hero serves as an image of that aspect of our ego that ventures into the unknown land of shadows, for instance in our dreams at night, to trace its treasures and bring them home to consciousness.

      The images of enemycripple, and beggar, convey three essential layers of the shadow–the image that Jung chose to describe the unconscious, repressed or unrecognized aspects of the personality, or, as he distinctly defined the shadow, “the thing a person has no wish to be.”

      These images are primarily intended to reflect the matter and fluidity of soul, rather than providing empirical structures and systematic definitions; I hope they facilitate weaving the story of the hero’s journey into the soul and the shadow.

      As we follow in the footsteps of the hero on his (or her) path or way, we shall meet the shadows that the hero (whether in masculine or feminine dress) necessarily encounters.(1)

      Were the hero to believe he already knows all there is to know, and if he would insist on standing on the firm ground of principles and conventions, he would seldom bother to respond to the call to adventure.(2) Our hero would remain at home, seated like Archie Bunker in the confined and drowsy embrace of the armchair-ego. He would stay away from the unknown, unaware of moonlit nights, and intolerant of the shadow-carrying Other. “The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds…,” says Campbell.(3) “The hero,” says Jung beautifully, “is the symbolical exponent of the movement of libido.”(4)

      The hero who searches for new paths in his heart and soul often lets hints and hunches guide him forward. Yet, he also needs to be equipped with courage to search beyond the boundaries of common ground and with humbleness towards the unknown that lies ahead of him. He must also carry a bagful of questions and concerns, curiosity and conflict, doubt and fear; “Every man hath the right to doubt his task, and to forsake it from time to time; but what he must not do is forget it.”(5)

      The hero ventures into the shadow-land, far away from home, beyond the familiar security of ego-boundaries. Or perhaps the shadow is not a land, but an entire continent, with many different landscapes—fields and valleys, seas and forests, some quite recognizable, others remote and mysterious, some seemingly friendly and embracing, others hostile and intimidating. The forests may become increasingly dense and dark, the sea so wild and stormy that it carries one away, “far from native lands,” to the point where one may contemplate “whether to cast myself out of the ship into the sea and perish there, or ... to endure and bide among the living.”(6) Some of those in shadow-land are easily recognized as foes we loathe. Yet, often envy, pride, greed, anger, and lust are found in friends whom we’d never believe could possess such qualities—or even more, we discover these universal patterns, those “deadly sins” within ourselves. There are also warriors and cripples, the homeless and vagabonds, and some of awe-inspiring stature. 

      The land of shadows holds both the chains and the treasure-house of our ancestors, as well as the prospects and the promises, the fears, anxieties and uncertainty about our offspring. It pertains to the shadows we cast onto our enemy so that we may fight him—yes, usually him—in order to gain a sense of a free and secure personal identity. And it is the crippling sense of complexes that we may try to dump on the dunghill, outside and away from the central city square and the walls of our ‘ego-state,’ only to be terrified as they stare back at us when we try to gain a moment’s rest. And there, further down the murky path, stands the beggar as if faceless, without the social mask of the persona, lurking in the misty shadow at the gateway to the Self. 

      This articles is from the introduction Enemy, Cripple, Beggar by Erel Shalit

      In addition to Erel Shalit's most recent publication: The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, his popular book Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path, are available in both printed and eBook editions and can be ordered from the Fisher King Press Online Bookstore and from a host of international booksellers, including Amazon (.com, .ca, co.uk, .fr, .de) in printed and kindle editions), Barnes & Noble (printed and nook editions), and all international Apple iBookstores.

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

      Sunday, November 20, 2011

      Treating Guilt - Click Here!

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        Saturday, November 19, 2011

        Thomas Moore on Gathering the Light

        Gathering the Light  A Jungian View of Meditation
        by V. Walter Odajnyk

        The following is Thomas Moore's Foreword to Gathering the Light:

        In its basic forms meditation is simply something that human beings do. We stop before a beautiful sunset and take it in as a deep aesthetic experience. We hear bad news and stop and think through all its implications and feel its impact on our emotions. We walk in a forest and can’t help but get quiet to be part of the natural world around us. We think through our problems and wonder about our future and consider the past.

        Spiritual traditions offer ways to make these simple, primal ways of meditating more formal and more effective. More sophisticated ways of meditating take us deep and have an even greater impact on our emotions, worldview and sense of self. They calm us not just by quieting the body and the mind, but by cleansing the impurities of our psychological and spiritual condition, a point made by that well-known champion of meditation and the dark night of the soul, John of the Cross.

        If you have read C. G. Jung’s memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections, you will have eavesdropped on a remarkable man who, perhaps more than any other 20th century person, used many methods, internal and external, to explore his soul. Many readers are surprised to find what they thought was an autobiography to be slight on facts and heavy with internal images and experiences. Jung explored and mapped and named the inhabitants of the inner world with a ferocity of imagination rarely seen. All the while, he connected his discoveries and inventions to the discipline of psychology and to the religious, occult and spiritual traditions of the world.

        So it makes sense to relate our efforts to meditate with Jung’s writings, especially with his notions of Self, his alchemical studies and his special method of active imagination. Having not worked this idea through for myself, after studying Jung intensely for many years, I was surprised and happy to see it done so enthusiastically and intelligently in this remarkable book by Walter Odajnyk.

        When contemporary psychology confronts meditation, it often moves in a reductive direction, like telling us that certain parts of the brain are lighting up when a person enters deep focus. But Jung was not your typical psychologist. He had a vast and detailed interest in religious and spiritual issues and for the most part didn’t reduce the spiritual to the psychological. Or, if he did come close to it on occasion, generally he tried to elevate psychology through an enthusiastic appreciation of religion and opened up the meaning of religious rites and imagery with his own rich brand of psychologizing. As a former member of a Catholic religious order, I found his writings on the Mass and on the Virgin Mary enlightening and enriching.

        This book also makes interesting comparisons between psychotherapy and transcendent forms of meditation. There is much to learn here about the two processes, one sorting out the psyche and the other reaching into transpersonal realms. In my own favored language, I would say that there is a spiritual form of meditating that takes us beyond ourselves and a soul meditating that remains close to life and personality, using art, images, ritual and nature as aids to contemplation.

        Jung tells a fascinating story of his discovery of alchemy and its usefulness to his own life and to his work. In the first relevant dream he found himself in a wing of his house he didn’t know existed. It contained a library of esoteric books. Then he found himself locked up in the 17th century, the time when European alchemy flourished. I find it an exciting and fruitful idea to use alchemy as the basis for a special kind of meditation, and you have the fundamentals in this book.

        Alchemy provides us with particular images for the materials, processes, and phases of soul work. Jung began with the Secret of the Golden Flower, and so it’s appropriate that it is the focus of this book. Today especially, a time of thorough materialism in science and psychology, we have to extract the soul from the many literal and purely physical ideas we have about human life. You might say that a primary purpose of meditation is to recover our souls from being lost and stuck and covered over with ideas that are too thick for the subtleties of soul work.

        Most people who know a little about Jung are familiar with the notion of the psychological complex and the archetype. These are essential elements in a Jungian therapy that helps a person get freed from the dominance of a particular complex or archetype. Professor Odajnyk makes the important point that meditation is an effective way to contact the complexes and to reach the archetypal level of experience. I can imagine it having a useful role in the therapeutic analysis of the psyche. I might even go so far as to say that at times therapy itself is a kind of meditation. Dream work, for instance, takes you deep into reflection on images that are full of interest and relevance because they shed so much light on the underworld of our daily experience.

        I welcome the re-appearance of this book because generally people focus on the technical aspects of meditating and not so much on the processes and fantasies of the psyche that are involved. I wouldn’t recommend a purely Jungian style of meditating, but Jungian ideas can enrich the experience and importantly bring the deep psyche into the picture. Sometimes people become so focused on their spiritual progress that they neglect the deep soul.

        As you read this subtle, carefully thought-out book, you might draw simple lessons for yourself that you can apply to your meditations. You might expand your very notion of what meditation is and how to go about it. In a more general sense, you might begin to reconcile soul and spirit in your life, achieving one of the primary goals of alchemy. Imagine this book lying open in a warm, shadowy and mysterious laboratory of the soul. It offers you guidance and a few recipes for becoming a deeper and more soulful person.

        You have just read Thomas Moore's Foreword to V. Walter Odajnyk's
        Gathering the Light: A Jungian View of Meditation.

        About the Author
        V. Walter Odajnyk, Ph.D. is a Jungian analyst, and serves as a Core Faculty member and is the Research Coordinator for Pacifica Graduate Institute's Mythological Studies Program.
        Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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          News Release: Wisdom in the Gospel Healing Stories

          Another New Fisher King Press Publication!

          Transforming Body & Soul
          Therapeutic Wisdom in the Gospel Healing Stories
          Revised Edition with Index, larger pages & font
          by Steven A. Galipeau

          Publication Date: Dec 1, 2011

          "Religion has become sick. Jesus’s teaching and healing ministries point out this frightening and important truth. The worst enemies of religion usually lie within religion itself. A subtle rigidity takes over that blocks the flow of healing."
          —Chapter 7 of Transforming Body & Soul

          With all the scholarly attention given to the Scriptures in the Christian community, it is remarkable how little study has been done of the Gospel healing stories. These stories embody and reflect powerful interpersonal dynamics, which are being rediscovered today in the practice of psychotherapy. As a healer, Jesus forms a bridge between the most ancient of healers, the shamans, and recent developments in psychosomatic medicine and depth psychology. Body and soul are intimately connected--health in one is often reflected in wholeness in the other.

          Blending the insights of Biblical scholarship with those of modern psychology, Galipeau examines each of the Gospel healing stories in depth. Transforming Body and Soul is a valuable resource for psychotherapists and counselors as well as clergy and pastoral ministers. Anyone seeking health and wholeness of body and spirit will find this a rewarding, challenging and therapeutic book.

          Originally published by Paulist Press in 1990, Transforming Body & Soul is a significant contribution to Jungian psychology and to the relationship between psychological and spiritual development.This Revised Edition, now includes an Index, Larger pages, Larger font and a Foreword by the author.

          Steven Galipeau is a Jungian analyst in private practice and executive director of Coldwater Counseling Center in Studio City, California. A member of the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, he is a frequent lecturer in the intersection of Jungian psychology and popular culture.

          Product Details
          * Paperback: 180 pages
          * Revised Edition, now includes an Index
          * Publisher: Fisher King Press (Dec 2011)
          * Language: English
          * ISBN-10: 1926715624
          * ISBN-13: 978-1926715629
          Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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            Sunday, November 6, 2011

            From Indigenous Cultures to the Western Worldview

            article by Dennis Merritt

            One of Jung’s biggest challenges to modern men and women from an ecopsychological perspective is to unite our cultured side with what he called “the two million-year-old man within.” The “indigenous one within” is a person living in a sacred and symbolic relationship with nature, in a world where “we are all related”—the two-leggeds, four-leggeds, six-leggeds, etc. To understand Jung’s challenge, we begin by looking at our Western indigenous roots and the evolution of the Western worldview. Indigenous cultures, including our Celtic, Slavic and Teutonic ancestors, considered all elements of the cosmos to be spiritually alive and interrelated. Humans were seen as but one element humbly present in the grand scheme of things. (n 4) Our ancestors spoke of gods and goddesses and other beings in nature equal or superior to humans “such as giants and dwarves, elves and trolls, fairies, leprechauns, gnomes, satyrs, nymphs and mermaids,” Ralph Metzner notes. “These deities and beings could be communed with by anyone who was willing to practice the methods taught by the shamans and their successors the witches, the wise women of the woods—using magical plants and stones, chants and incantations, dances and rituals.” (Metzner 1993, p. 7)

            Traditional cultures also tend to revere close relationships between people, making kinship and clan identities far more important than the individual person. Small groups allow easier connections and face-to-face interactions, facilitating democratic decision-making processes. In traditional cultures,
            Reciprocity and belonging rule human interaction…Shared communal spaces and cooperatively tended land are…typical. The purpose of life is…to live in harmony with one’s group, honoring tradition and continuity with the ancestors, as well as the spiritual world, which provides for human needs. (Winter 1996, p. 53)
            A radically different Western worldview has evolved over the last several hundred years, a worldview that to this point has been very successful in material terms. The scientific priesthood starting with Bacon (end of 16th century) arose to understand and control the natural world as a means of defending against nature’s threats. (Ryley 1988, p. 227) Newton and Descartes established the foundation of a mechanical view of a universe composed of inert, physical elements that gradually replaced the spiritual view which had until then been dominant in Western culture. A mechanistic, soulless natural world made it vulnerable to the extraction mentality wielded by Western engineering. (n 5)

            John Locke (1632-1704) interpreted God’s command to subdue the earth to mean that man had to work the land to “improve it for the benefit of life,” justifying private land ownership to possess the “[necessary] materials to work on.” (Locke 1988, p. 290-292 quoted in Winter 1996, p. 40) (n 6) “[Calvinists] who helped settle America and promulgate the Industrial Revolution in England” thought of work as being a divine “calling” and “material rewards were signs of God’s blessings on labor well done.” (p. 44) (n 7) In our worldview,
            No longer do we have primary moral or psychological responsibilities to the society (instead they are to our own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness); no longer is the most important purpose of our life to ensure our passage to heaven or to honor our ancestors; no longer is our essential identity based on our family or kin relationship. Instead, our lives are lived as individuals, competitive and separate, pursuing our own material wealth through the God-given rights of freedom and noninterference from the state. (Clark 1989, p. 268 referenced in Winter 1996, p. 43, 44) (n 8)
            The Judeo-Christian tradition established a very different relationship with nature than that of our indigenous ancestors. The Hebrews condemned the followers of the Canaanite great goddess Astarte whose shrines were in wild places. (Metzner 1993, p. 7) Judaism lost the sense of other Near Eastern religions of “the harmonious integration of man’s life with the life of nature.” (Frankfort 1948, p. 342 quoted in Sessions 1991, p. 109) Christians worshipped a transcendent creator far above human affairs who couldn’t be communicated with directly and they “denied and denigrated the creative spiritual energies inherent in nature.” (Metzner 1993, p. 7) Christian belief in a special covenant with a transcendent Father deity “gives them a sense of a divine mission in the world and a spiritual destiny beyond that of other members of the created world,” prompting ecotheologian Thomas Berry to claim, “the ultimate basis of our ecological difficulties lies in the roots of our Christian spirituality” (n 9):
            In the original Christian teaching there were rightly considered to be two scriptures: the scripture of the natural world, and the scripture of the Bible. Nature was seen originally as both created by the divine and as a primary self-presentation of the divine. (Ryley 1998, p. 224, 225) (n 10)
            Church fathers demonized the many spirits and deities consulted by the Greeks and Romans known to them as daimones. (von Franz 1980 referenced in Metzner 1993, p. 7, 8) (n 11) So began the long and sordid Church history of demonizing and crushing what it perceived to be its opposition. It violently destroyed the early Gnostic Christian sects who taught rituals enabling ordinary men and women to commune directly with the divine. Many reform movements were popular within Christianity in the 12th century, such as the Cathars in Provence, France and the Knights Templar. The Church branded the adherents as heretics and launched inquisitions and internal crusades against them. Pagan witches became the focus of inquisitions in the 14th century, when the Church expanded the use of torture to extract confessions of being in league with the devil. Estimates are that between 2 to 9 million witches were tortured and burned over the next 300 years and their property confiscated. (p. 7, 8) The vast majority were women, originally known as the “wise women of the woods”:
            [Many were] simple country women, some of whom were maintaining the herbal knowledge, especially as related to midwifery, contraception and abortion. Some were shamans who used hallucinogenic plants (particularly of the solanaceous or nightshade variety) to induce visionary experiences of shaman’s flight, referred to as flying through the air to witch’s Sabbath. (p. 8)
            In the analysis of Ralph Metzner, the heart of the problem is a split between nature and spirit in Western consciousness. (Metzner 1993, p. 6) This philosophical split goes to the very root of Western philosophy beginning in ancient Greece. In Bertrand Russell’s opinion, “What is amiss even in the best philosophy after Democritus [i.e., after the pre-Socratics], is an undue emphasis on man as compared to the universe.” (Russell 1979, p. 90 quoted in Fox 1991b, p. 107) In The Illusion of Technique, William Barnett states:
            The idea of nature has played a small part in contemporary philosophy. Bergson once remarked that most philosophers seem to philosophize as if they were sealed in the privacy of their study and did not live on a planet surrounded by the vast organic world of animals, plants, insects, and protozoa, with whom their own life is linked in a single history. (Barnett 1979, p. 363 quoted in Fox 1991b, p. 107)
            Christian anthropocentric (human centered) theology had a strong influence on the leading philosophical spokesmen for the Scientific Revolution. Science and religion gradually evolved into a division of domains following a medieval transition:
            The world of the creator, of spirit, of divinity, of transcendent realities and of moral concern, was the realm of religion, and science agreed to stay out of it. On the other hand the world of matter and forces which could be perceived through the senses and measured and manipulated was the realm of science, and the church gave the scientists free rein to develop their value-free, purpose-less, blind, yet totally deterministic, mechanistic conception of the universe. Thus the stage was set for a further and complete desacralization of the natural world, with the transcendent creator progressively marginalized, until we have the totally life-less, non-sentient, purpose-less world of the modern age. (Metzner 1993, p. 4, 5) (n 12)
            The Protestant reformation eliminated “the last vestiges of pre-Christian European paganism” in the overlay of Christianity onto pagan sites and the practices that survived, especially in the cult of Mary. The Black Madonna was and is its most potent form; to this day it can be found in over 500 European churches. The Black Virgin cult is essentially a popular retention of the “ancient black goddesses such as Artemis, Cybele and particularly the Egyptian Isis.” (Begg 1985 referred to in Metzner 1993, p. 5) (n 13)

            Freud cast the European split between spirit and nature in psychological terms, especially the Protestant version of the Christian myth where heaven or the spiritual realm is obtained by conquering the body and overcoming “our ‘lower’ animal instincts and passions.” The natural self includes bodily sensations, impulses, feelings and instincts. Freud denied the spiritual and transpersonal realms. For Freud, consciousness and culture is attained only by ego consciousness struggling “against the unconscious body-based, animal id,” the seething caldron of the unconscious full of constraints and distractions. In this view, there is an inevitable level of discontent in culture because of conflicted relationship with the natural in us, and by projection, with the natural world. (Metzner 1993, p. 6) (see Appendix A)

            There were many crosscurrents which complicate the picture of a dualistic split in the dominant collective consciousness of the Europeans. Hildegard von Bingen, an 11th century Rhineland Benedictine abbess, “spoke of viriditas—the greenness, as the creative power of God manifest throughout the creation.” For her, “‘The soul is in the body the way the sap is in the tree’—in other words, the soul nourishes and sustains the body, instead of having to rise above it or struggle against it.” (Metzner 1993, p. 7) “The greatest spiritual revolutionary in Western history,” St. Francis of Assisi, “tried to depose man from his monarchy over creation and set up a democracy of all God’s creatures.” (White 1967/1971, p. 6 quoted in Sessions 1991, p. 110) The sophisticated philosophy of the 17th century Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, has a modern ecological base with a spirituality some compare to Zen Buddhism. Spinoza drew upon ancient Jewish pantheistic roots in an attempt “to resanctify the world by identifying God with Nature”—human and nonhuman. He found mind (or mental attributes) throughout nature and used the developing science of the time to help him attain spiritual self-realization and deepen an appreciation of nature. His pantheism influenced “some of the leading figures of the eighteenth–century European Romantic movement (the main Western counter cultural force speaking on behalf of nature and against the uncritical and unbridled enthusiasm for the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions).” Spinoza also influenced the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess (father of the “deep ecology” movement), and Albert Einstein. (p. 112) Calling himself a “disciple of Spinoza,” Einstein expressed his admiration as well for Saint Francis and upheld “cosmic religious feeling” as the highest form of religious life. (Einstein 1942, p. 14 quoted in Sessions 1991, p. 110)

            Spirituality associated with the natural world did not begin to remerge in Christianity until the Romantic Movement in the eighteenth century. (Ryley 1998, p. 228, 229) The English Romantic visionary poet and painter William Blake wrote: “the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul, is to be expunged.” Blake believed the Church’s forceful presentation of an abstract mental deity had ruined our abilities to directly perceive spirits everywhere—in nature, places and in cities and towns. (Metzner 1993, p. 7) (see Appendix B: William Blake and the English Romantics)

            Notes and Bibliography

            The article you just finished reading is an excerpt from Dennis Merritt's:

            Jung, Hermes and Ecopsychology
            The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe
            We keep forgetting that we are primates and that we have to make allowances for these primitive layers in our psyche. The farmer is still closer to these layers. In tilling the earth he moves around within a very narrow radius, but he moves on his own land. —C.G. Jung
            Volume I:  Jung and Ecopsychology presents the main premises of Jungian ecopsychology,offers some of Jung’s best ecopsychological quotes, and provides a brief overview of the evolution of our dysfunctional Western relationship with the environment.  

            Dennis Merritt, Ph.D., LCSW, 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. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies have strongly influenced his worldview.
            Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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              Wednesday, November 2, 2011

              Drawing a Line in the Sand

              Drawing a Line in the Sand and 
              Cultivating the Unlived Promise 
              of Your Creativity . . .

              Listen to Bonnie Bright Interview Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

              Bonnie Bright is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a central gathering place, a global village for academic discussion, research, and development of Depth Psychology ideas and views as well as a place to connect with like-minded colleagues, old and new. As the first online community of its kind, it is quickly building a powerful collection of content and methods, enabling Depth Psychology to emerge more fully into the everyday world.

              Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is a Jungian analyst and the author of several books, including The Sister From Below: When the Muse Gets Her Way, and her latest poetry collection Adagio & Lamentation. Visit Naomi's blog at www.sisterfrombelow.com and read about the many forms of the muse.
              Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
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                Monday, October 31, 2011

                Merritt on Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology

                Fisher King Press Presents:

                Jung, Hermes and Ecopsychology 
                The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe in Four Volumes
                We keep forgetting that we are primates and that we have to make allowances for these primitive layers in our psyche. The farmer is still closer to these layers. In tilling the earth he moves around within a very narrow radius, but he moves on his own land. —C.G. Jung
                Volume I:  Jung and Ecopsychology presents the main premises of Jungian ecopsychology, offers some of Jung’s best ecopsychological quotes, and provides a brief overview of the evolution of our dysfunctional Western relationship with the environment.
                —ISBN 9781926715421 Available Jan 2012

                Volume II:  The Cry of Merlin—Jung, the Prototypical Ecopsychologist makes the basic premises of Jungian ecopsychology more convincing and understandable by illustrating how they evolved out of Jung’s lived experience.
                —ISBN 9781926715438 Available Sept 2012

                Volume III:  Ecopsychology and Complexity Theory: Hermes and the Cows is an exegesis of the myth of Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle to be used as a mythic foundation for Jungian ecopsychology with Hermes' wand as its symbol.
                —ISBN 9781926715445 Available Dec 2012

                Volume IV: An Archetypal View  Land, Seasons, Weather, Planet of the Insect: An Archetypal View  Land explores the environment, with the Midwest as an example, using traditional Jungian and Hillmanian approaches to deepen our connection with the land, the seasons, and insects. The Dalai Lama said how we relate to insects is very important for it reveals much about a culture’s relationship with the psyche and nature.
                —ISBN 9781926715452 Available June 2013

                Dennis Merritt, Ph.D., LCSW, 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. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies have strongly influenced his worldview.
                Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
                  • International Shipping.
                  • Credit Cards Accepted.
                  • Phone Orders Welcomed: +1-831-238-7799 skype: fisher_king_press

                  Tuesday, October 25, 2011

                  Trickster, Narcissism, and the Search for Soul

                  by Deldon Anne McNeely

                  From the new revised edition of Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods

                  Since what “seems to be” has higher priority than what “is” in narcissism, Trickster is always evoked by the narcissistic complex. Pelton says the Trickster “pokes at, plays with, delights in, and shatters what seems to be until it becomes what is.”(1) Trickster tells it like it is, for communication is uppermost, how-it-is is uppermost, how it seems to be or should be is meant to be shattered. This puts the Trickster at the center of the narcissistic dynamics, paradoxically as the antagonist of the narcissistic defenses, yet simultaneously as the only one who can truly understand and accept them. For there is a paradoxical aspect of the narcissist’s preoccupation with the mirror, and it is this: if we can ever find the Self in the image, we can be free! If we can find the Self, separate and emerge from it, know its Otherness, we can relate to it rather than identify with it. We can have the mirror inside, have it speak to us, hold us, wait for us, instead of having to be so omnipotently self-protective. We would let go, and know.

                  In the Trickster something wants to show us “how it is,” not only by pointing to our shadiest qualities, but holding them up to the sun’s gaze for the greatest possible multitudes to see. Trickster doesn’t hold up only our conventionally positive traits; she brings the shadowy, unattractive, and shameful elements into the sunlight of collective consciousness too. And that is what appears to be happening in a tricksterish way as our society becomes more enamored of seeing itself. In our current preoccupation with exposure we have taken the old first lines of the primer which for many of us was the introduction to collective life, “See Dick, See Jane,” and exaggerated it to enormous proportions. Jane and Dick’s every tear, dream, and orgasm is enlarged for the super-screen in the sky. Yet we are finite, and limited to seeing only a few things at a time. What is missing from this picture? What nuances are overlooked, what shades lurking out of range of the camera’s eye, what small secrets of the soul slipping through the cracks? What data are we, in our narcissistic society, refusing to take in? And what is it we are looking for as we scrutinize our own reflection?

                  Schwartz-Salant, by noting the similarity between Trickster and narcissism, suggests that what is being looked for and overlooked is the relationship to the feminine and its capacity for reflection:
                  Narcissism is a trickster, leading one to all kinds of inflation and self-importance with nothing in the end to show for it.... Generally, narcissistic character structures are involved with individuation much as Mercurius is.... They represent both the urge toward individuation and the drive toward the regressive fusion of ego and Self. Narcissistic character structures can lead to a birth of the feminine or to the repression of this realm of being and body with its own spirit and consciousness. As well, they can lead to a capacity for reflection, or to its continual suppression under the dominance of a grandiose-exhibitionistic power drive.(2) (Italics-DM.)
                  Mythical Narcissus gives us an image of one whose longing for connection to his own soul is so great that it overrides all other concerns. Similarly, the narcissistic character is preoccupied with seeking the truth of herself, and to care for anything or anyone else at this stage of her development would only divert her from her primary task: that of finding the soul she hid protectively so long ago that she does not remember that it is hidden, although she feels compelled to retrieve it from the mirror. Here we meet ourselves today, bereft and thoroughly preoccupied with retrieving what we know not. Taking our cues from the narcissistic personality, we can surmise that modern society’s urge toward self-absorption means that we are seeking the truth of ourselves. We must find the Self in the mirror in order to separate from it and to relate to it instead of improperly identifying with its power. Our relationship to the feminine inner world is out of balance. As a narcissistic society, we can assume that we are probably skewed toward too much masculinity; we identify with power and extroversion, as we project into our god-images. We search the mirror for our missing soul parts, which will bring us closer to completion and help us to experience affection without fusion.

                  In the West African Ashanti theology, there is a balance of male and female powers, as we have seen is also true in the Fon. Ashanti goddess Asase Yaa is equal in power to the male god Nyame. She is neither his wife nor his creation, but the likelihood is that “each has a hidden aspect somehow reflecting the chief characteristics of the other.”(3) The social order of the earthly society reflects this double divinity: the King has a Queen Mother who shares his rule, and each chief and subchief shares power with a Queen Mother. “The Queen Mother is to the King as Asase Yaa is to Nyame: the resource out of which the source of life draws life and renews life.”(4)

                  It is practically impossible for us, so long steeped in Western tradition, to imagine a psychological foundation that is informed by an early teaching of the masculine and feminine nature of God and that can assign true value to the psyche and to introversion. More often our way is to tolerate the inner life only if it proves pragmatic or attention-getting in some way. Our extroverted values bias us toward seeing other cultures as less successful if their technology and levels of material comfort are less advanced than our own. Like a narcissistic personality who disdains the experience of others, a narcissistic society tends to overlook the wisdom and information conveyed by the philosophies, arts, and music of other cultures, which are often much more sophisticated and differentiated than its own. In our society we tend to overlook the closeness that some other cultures have with animals and children, and with nature herself, connections which are often far more advanced than our own, stressing as they do cooperation with nature rather than conquering.

                  Cut-off as we have been from our feminine soul as a culture, we express our condition through our narcissistic adaptation, vacillating between fears of fusion and abandonment. Although there may seem to be a developing reverence for “The Goddess,” there are still women and men mutilating their bodies and souls to fit into a masculine image of how we should be. Relatively few of us are at peace with who and how we are. In psychology our bias shows in the experience of the ego in terms of what I think of as “yang functions,” functions of doing, actively participating in, even “overcoming” both outer and inner worlds. Yet we know from experience and from numerous examples in universal stories that it is sometimes adaptive to do nothing but contemplate or wait, to live what is.

                  Because of our bias toward extroversion, and in spite of Jung’s explorations of the need for balance, introverted behavior is still often pathologized and regarded as weak ego-functioning, when it may be exactly what is needed in order to mediate the unconscious. This bias towards extraversion was abetted by Freud’s view of the unconscious as Id, which was seen as something to be mastered by Ego. It is less so under Jung’s influence, which bids us to respect the information from the unconscious as a valuable source of survival data, data which can balance our over-weighted conscious vantage point. I like to think of the ego-functions as representing the yin-yang principles, able to be active or passive, assertive or reflective, as called for by the circumstances.

                  With an androgynous view of the ego functions, with regard to the resolution of the narcissistic adaptation, the acceptance of the yin-ego opens one to retrieving the lost element of soul that is being sought in the mirror. We have images for this which indicate the importance of Trickster in the process: for example, Hermes bringing the abducted feminine, Persephone, back to the upperworld; Hermes rescuing the Divine Child, Dionysus, when he was born of Zeus and had to be taken from Hera’s sight to be cared for by nymphs; Biblical nomadic wise-men throwing the plotting king off track to allow the escape of the Divine Child, Jesus. These images of the recovery of the lost soul (represented by the feminine, or by the archetype of renewal and creativity, the Divine Child), with the help of the shrewd and caring Trickster, all imply that there is a central organizing principle by which the fragments are related in their process of continual flux. The notion of a center need not imply stasis, but rather a purposive order as opposed to unrelated random events.

                  1.  Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), 62.
                  2.  This is not to say that every man thinks in a predominantly masculine style, nor every woman in a predominantly feminine style, any more than we can say that every man values independence more than attachment. It does imply that there are gender differences in principle, reflected in generalized differences between males and females. 
                  3.  Rosemarie Tong, Feminine and Feminist Ethics (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1993). 
                  4.  Charles Derber, The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Individualism in Everyday Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979).

                  Order  Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods