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.
        • International Shipping.
        • Credit Cards Accepted.
        • Phone Orders Welcomed +1-831-238-7799 
        • skype: fisher_king_press

        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 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.
            • International Shipping.
            • Credit Cards Accepted.
            • Phone Orders Welcomed: +1-831-238-7799 skype: fisher_king_press