Depth Psychology Blog

This blog offers information and education about Jungian and Depth Psychology oriented approaches by psychotherapists, counselors, coaches, speakers, authors, healing professionals, and dozens of other modalities. You'll read personal stories from these practitioners about the power of symbols, the unconscious, dreams, archetypes, Jungian thought, nature, ecopsychology, mythology, and so much more. 
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  • 09 Feb 2016 3:12 AM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Ever since I met Dr. Glen Slater in 2008, I have known him to be a particularly passionate and knowledgeable advocate of film. I often see his film reviews in Jungian and depth publications, and his background in clinical psychology and religious studies—along with his interest in technology and culture—make his commentary especially valuable.

    jung_film_blog.jpgIn a recent interview, Glen and I sat down together for an intriguing depth discussion on Jung, individuation, and film, the topic of Glen’s public salon on February 19, 2016 in Santa Barbara, CA

    To begin, Dr. Slater notes, while we can think of individuation as coming to one’s deep self or unique character, it’s also the place where one comes to contribute to the larger human story. The individuation process is both deeply personal but also transpersonal; both universal and archetypal. At any given time in a specific culture, individuation is about finding a deep relationship with those energies that are coming up from the collective psyche. Jung believed that “no one can individuate on a mountaintop,” Glen reminded me. Therefore, at the same time you are growing into your own genius, you are also finding where your own life resonates with what is emerging collectively.

    Since we need models and mirrors, films are a key place we go today for myth. Films provide a wonderful arena where we can see characters going through the process of individuation—not only experiencing change and transformation, but also finding a deeper understanding of who they really are. As Joseph Campbell pointed out in The Hero’s Journey, there is often initially a refusal of the call, but eventually archetypal forces align to draw the character in to their deeper destiny, Glen states. While a character may initially be uncertain in the journey to individuation, more often that not, they reach a point where an event occurs that seems to spark the idea that they need to serve.

    In our culture, we live in a dualistic state in which we all deeply long for a vision that is unitive; where what happens outside is connected to what’s going on inside our mind, Slater notes. Therefore, film, by nature, is an excellent tool for melding inner and outer, enabling us to recover that sense of presence, unity, enchantment, or magic.

    So how does one begin to look at a film from a Jungian lens? The answer is definitely related to this idea that the outer world is reflective of the inner world, Slater insists. You must make the bridge with what is known in Jungian psychology as “symbolic thought,” the idea that what occurs in the story is metaphorical rather than literal. The process of individuation may be regarded as “living the symbolic life,” suggesting we must move from an egocentric place of being, to looking at events with a kind of curiosity that asks what things mean on a deeper level.

    It’s not hard to know when a film is resonating with something going on in our inner worlds.  When we walk out of a film, it either stays with us or it doesn’t. It’s a litmus test, Glen claims. Does it stay with you or linger in the way a powerful dream might? Paying attention to the way certain stories or characters stay with us helps us discern the material that is touching the psyche.

    So what are the new values and energies that need to come in to drive the process? For one, films can empower us to see what’s on the horizon for our culture. As an example, Glen emphasizes that at a time when many Jungian and depth thinkers are talking about the return of the feminine in our current masculinized culture, certain female “heroes” (like Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron in the recent Mad Max: Fury Road) carry a very different value system than we have customarily seen before.

    films.jpgOne especially important point Slater notes is that often a protagonist does not move up and out into the light, but rather down into the underworld. Intelligent filmmakers are able to show us the shadow side of our culture instead of parading the heroic values that are traditionally held up in a culture. In our discussion, Glen cites examples from films like American BeautyMillion Dollar BabyCarol, and Star Wars for various interpretations from Jungian perspectives. Jung’s work provides a great toolbox in terms of articulating the archetypes, he asserts.

    When I asked Glen how the word “soul”—so commonly used in Jungian and depth psychologies—applies to film, he had a fascinating perspective. He suggests soul refers to a sense there is something outside the ego, that is directing or shaping our experience so that we are drawn into a feeling that there are other presences at work. He points to Jungian and archetypal psychologist, James Hillman, as someone who thought of soul as “that dimension of experience where the spiritual comes into the world”—into everyday embodied experience. For Hillman, the sense of soul requires something that is substantive, something “felt.” In this way, soul is related to the magic and enchantment.

    Slater contends that we can identify the presence of an archetype when the “universal” and the “unique” are together simultaneously. Film must absolutely engage our imaginations. And, while images do engage us, for our imaginations to really be set on fire, archetypal patterns have to be activated, creating resonance, and lingering on well after the lights come up and the theater empties. What’s the last film you saw that really set your imagination alight? If you have to think about it, it may be time to see another film.

    Listen to the full audio interview with Dr. Glen Slater here (28:29 mins) 

    Join Dr. Glen Slater for a free public salon, "Jung, Individuation, and Film” on the Lambert Road Campus at Pacifica Graduate Institute on February 19, 2016 at 7 p.m.


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    Glen Slater, Ph.D., has a background in both religious studies and clinical psychology. He teaches Jungian and archetypal psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California. He edited and introduced the third volume of James Hillman’s Uniform Edition, Senex and Puer, as well as a volume of essays by Pacifica faculty, Varieties of Mythic Experience, and has contributed a number of articles to Springjournal and other Jungian publications—several in the area of Jung and film.



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    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D., graduated from Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program after defending her dissertation in December 2014. She is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of DepthList.com, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has been extensively involved in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.



    This post originally appeared on Pacifica Post here

  • 09 Feb 2016 3:05 AM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

    We are all intimately familiar with suffering. And, while we might wish it away when it is painfully present, it is a normal part of human life, Dr. Lionel Corbett, M.D., Jungian analyst and professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute reminded me when I recently sat down for a depth discussion with him on the topic.

    Corbett-WebImage.jpgEtymologically, the word “suffering” comes from two Latin roots: sub—meaning “under”—and ferre, meaning “to carry or bear,” as in “to bear a burden.” But suffering is not necessarily pathological, Lionel insists. The root of the word “suffer” is also the root of the English word “fertile,” so it is also related to the idea of bearing fruit. Psychologically, then, suffering can produce something; it’s not random or meaningless, nor merely something to get rid of. In reality, it can act as either a fertilizer or a poison. It can be harmful or it can be helpful, but we need a framework by which we can understand it.

    Dr. Corbett, whose recent book, The Soul in Anguish: Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Suffering serves as a foundation for his public workshop (February 12-14, 2016) at Pacifica Graduate Institute, asserts that suffering can be developmentally useful, enabling wisdom and understanding we might not otherwise have had. Suffering can change our worldview, our values, and even reveal aspects of a person’s character that were previously not known. It may also make us more empathic and compassionate, or more appreciative of everyday life.

    We might take depression, which is one kind of suffering or “burden,” as an example, Lionel noted. It is common to look at it through a clinical lens as a disorder, but if we engage a spiritual lens, depression may be regarded as a “dark night of the soul” which will eventually enhance our spiritual development. Depending on which lens one uses to regard it, we hold an attitude that will either tend to re-enforce and solidify our usual habits and patterns of thinking and doing, or else open us to change and transformation. Suffering (of any kind) may reveal great capacity for courage and resilience in an individual—or it can result in resentment and bitterness. When we consider it using a depth psychological lens, it seems clear it is not a random process, but rather a critically important aspect in the development of the personality and of what C. G. Jung called “individuation.”

    Dr. Corbett offers multiple frameworks for considering suffering; among them, the idea that suffering is a period of liminality—a term anthropologists use to describe a rite of passage. Rites of passage in tribal cultures used to occur in three phases. The middle phase was the liminal on, or the phase of being “betwixt and between,” a period of tremendous uncertainty. Considering that while we are suffering, we are simply between phases, may provide an archetypal context that can help situate us and provide meaning, giving us strength to go on.

    Suffering brings up fundamental and often painful questions about individual destiny and about the meaning of life, at times resulting in identity crises or “spiritual emergencies” that arouse questions like, “Why is this happening to me?” or “What have I done to deserve this?” Jung suggested that searching for meaning in suffering ultimately makes bearable what would otherwise be unbearable, and pointed out the need to locate ourselves in a larger relationship to “what is.” “The decisive question for man is,” wrote Jung (1961), “Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance. … If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.” (pp. 356-7)

    In mid-life, Lionel points out, many of us find ourselves living out the stereotypical scenario where we struggle to climb the ladder, only to find as we get to the top that the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall. In times of intense suffering, our established lifelong spiritual traditions may fail to help. Questioning one’s own religious or spiritual beliefs can be one of the functions of suffering, further amplifying the viewpoint that the way one has been living may suddenly seem rather pointless or hollow. This can cause tremendous regret or bitterness, but if one can have a direct experience of the transpersonal unconscious, what Jung refers to as “the numinous,” it can open the door to a new personal form of spirituality.

    Where does suffering come from? Believing it is something that is “happening to” us is an egoic perspective, Lionel reminded me. Because the process of suffering comes out of the unconscious, we have no control over it. Jung would say that it comes from what he termed the “Self,” sending signals from the unconscious that something needs attention. While suffering can result from a complex that has taken hold of us, we can consciously and purposefully engage in the process by inquiring into aspects of or own psyche that we have to grapple with. Lionel offered a compelling metaphor, that is to look at this situation as a boat where the sailor cannot change the wind, but he can adjust the sails. The wind is like the wind of the spirit, he notes: things happen that you can’t control. The way you adjust the sails is your reaction to it.

    Is suffering optional? Can we avoid suffering altogether, or at least diminish it? Are some people more sensitive to suffering? Is there such a thing as secondhand suffering, where certain individuals suffer more themselves because of what they’re witnessing? These are all questions I posed in our conversation, and some of Lionel’s answers surprised me, but this final question truly brought me back to the implications of working with suffering in a depth psychological way. “How do therapists and helping professionals sustain their work with those who are suffering?”, I wondered aloud to Dr. Corbett, who is a seasoned analyst and clinician.

    There is a shamanic way of working with clients, he was quick to suggest, wherein the therapist takes on the suffering of the client, transmutes it, and then “gives it back to them in a more digestible way.”

    This, to me, is the blessing of depth psychology. Knowing it is paramount in our individuation process and having support from depth-oriented thinkers and therapists who can help us hold the suffering so it can transmute and transform us.

    “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching,” famously wrote Charles Dickens in Great Expectations, “and has taught me to understand what [the] heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.”

    Listen to the full audio interview with Dr. Lionel Corbett here (27:12 mins)

    Learn more about Dr. Lionel Corbett’s upcoming public workshop, “Depth Psychological Approaches to Suffering,” February 12-14, 2016 at Pacifica Graduate Institute.


    Sources

    Merriam-Webster online dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffer

    Corbett, Lionel. (2015). The Soul in Anguish: Psychotherapeutic Approaches to SufferingAsheville, NC: Chiron.

    Dickens, Charles. (2003). Great Expectations. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Classics.

    Jung, C.G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, ReflectionsNew York, NY. Pantheonpp. 356-7.


    corbett-lionel.jpg

    Lionel Corbett, M.D., trained in medicine and psychiatry in England, and as a Jungian Analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His primary interests are the religious function of the psyche, especially the way in which personal religious experience is relevant to individual psychology; the development of psychotherapy as a spiritual practice; and the interface of Jungian psychology and contemporary psychoanalytic thought. Dr. Corbett is a professor of depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is the author of numerous professional papers and four books: Psyche and the Sacred, The Religious Function of the Psyche; The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice; and most recently The Soul in Anguish: Psychotherapeutic Approaches to SufferingHe is the co-editor of Jung and Aging; Depth Psychology, Meditations in the Field; and Psychology at the Threshold.


    bonnie_bright.jpgBonnie Bright, Ph.D., graduated from Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program after defending her dissertation in December 2014. She is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of DepthList.com, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has been extensively involved in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.



    Note: This post originally posted on the Pacifica Post site here

  • 01 Feb 2016 1:01 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    What happens when the gods come calling, from a depth psychological perspective, and how can one be ready when it happens? These are questions that arose when I recently sat down with Dr. Jennifer Selig to discuss her Salon on January 22, 2016: “The Right Address: How to Be Home When the Gods Come Calling.”

    The title of Selig’s presentation is based on the double meaning of the word “address.” Not only can the word mean a physical “address” where you live or work— where you can typically be found—it’s verb form, while pronounced differently, signifies when someone calls you. “Calling” ties to the word “vocation,” which is based on the Latin vocatus, the past tense of vocare, “to call.” Vocation, from the early 15th century is defined as “spiritual calling.” Thus the word “vocation,” Selig notes, literally means to be called by the gods.

    One’s vocation, as it turns out, is not as much about what we want to do as it is about where the gods would have us be based on the gifts they have bestowed on us.

    In his book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, Hillman wrote, “We dull our lives by how we conceive them,” Selig reminded me, so vocation—or calling—is the place where we ultimately express the gifts and talents that come through us but are not necessarily of us; not restricted or constrained by our limited egoic perspective.

    While a vocational school in contemporary culture is perceived to have a very narrow focus on teaching someone a specific trade they can practice in a fairly short period of time, Selig wants to take the word “vocation” back from that narrow perception. All of our lives are a vocation, no matter what kind of work we do in the world, she insists. For that reason, Pacifica is a true vocational school, opening students to the gifts that are wanting to come through them. Selig has noticed that very often, people are called to come to Pacifica without knowing why. They often step onto the campus and have a feeling of being home.

    There are many ways of looking at and discerning what’s calling us. It is important as one leans toward their vocation to trust emotion and affect the body is one way of finding your calling. If you pay attention to where you feel the most energy in your work life; where you have the most joy, you can notice where the calling is strong. Myths, dreams, ritual, and synchronicity also show us paths and patterns. Selig points to works from some of the great pioneers of depth psychology, including Freud, Jung, Hillman, and Marion Woodman, to help point the way as we address questions around vocation.

    Perhaps the most important thing to discerning calling is paying attention. James Hillman calls attention the cardinal virtue of depth psychology, Selig points out, noting that she has done some writing on that topic and believes it is crucial to pay attention to both the rational and the irrational—both using the brain for the rational or logos perspective, but also to plumb the irrational in the form of dreams, myth, story and image. It goes both ways, she insists: there needs to be balance of both the day and night worlds; the logos and the eros.

    Is finding balance a fantasy, though? Selig suggests that rather than simply seeking balance, learning to live with the tensions that are inherent in our lives is tantamount to pursuing the call. For example, she asks, “How do we hold the tension between what “makes our heart sing” and having to pay the bills?”

    “Yes!” I think, when she asks me this. Jung would have agreed: holding the tension allows a space to emerge in which a new thing can arise—the transcendent function at its best. Does holding the tension, then, open the way so that we are paying attention enough to hear the knock when it comes at our door? Suddenly I find myself I looking very much forward to learning more at Jennifer’s Salon presentation on January 22. Who will come knocking there...?

    Click here to listen to the full audio interview with Dr. Jennifer Selig.


    Sources 

    Hillman, James. (1996). The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling. New York, NY: Random House, p. 5.

    Online Etymology Dictionary: vocation

    jennifer_selig.jpg


    Jennifer Selig, Ph.D. is founding chair of Pacifica's Jungian and Archetypal Studies Specialization and the M.A. Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program. Dr. Selig currently teaches in both programs, is a published author of many books including Integration: The Psychology and Mythology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and His (Unfinished) Therapy with the Soul of America; a photographer; and writer of non-fiction and screenplays.




    bonnie_bright.jpg


    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.,
    graduated from Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program after defending her dissertation in December 2014. She is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a 
    free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of DepthList.com, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has been extensively involved in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.



    Note: This post originally posted on the Pacifica Post site here

  • 19 Nov 2015 2:31 AM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Notes on a Depth Discussion between Susan Rowland and Bonnie Bright

    detective_blogIf you are an avid reader, the mystery genre is likely a familiar presence in the pleasures of your pastime. Those who love detective fiction really love it, as author and scholar Susan Rowland insists to me in a recent interview, and there is a strong ritual element in the reading and writing of mysteries. There are certain consistencies in every story that one may begin to expect; and yet they continue to enthrall us even as they unfold. Mystery novels hold a place for ritual in our culture, and a sense of wanting to repeat something we already know about, things we expect each time we pick one up.

    Rituals allow the sacred to be embodied, as Rowland argues in her latest book, The Sleuth and the Goddess: Hestia, Artemis, Athena and Aphrodite in Women's Detective Fiction. In the reading and writing of mysteries, the sacred is enacted, creating a space which is inhabited by the goddesses.

    Jungian and archetypal psychologies point out that there is never just one god, Rowland asserts; there can’t be just “Hermes” in hermeneutics (the study of texts, and especially written texts). He is not the only god of writing. While our culture has primarily been influenced by a tradition that is masculine-focused, one must ask: Where are the feminine gods in writing? If they are in our psyche as depth psychology suggests, then they are going to be in what our psyche does—including reading and writing.

    Susan relates that all her work has been interested in the feminine and in depth psychology, and she has always been interested in detective fiction. Upon moving to the U.S. from England a couple of years ago, she wanted to understand what it meant to be a woman in America. She began to notice archetypal patterns that emerged from the work of women mystery writers, which, in turn, coincided with the work of depth scholars Christine Downing and Ginette Paris, who were writing about the goddesses, and with Susan’s own longtime, ongoing interest in detective fiction.

    Susan points out that detective fiction was born around the same time as depth psychology. Culturally, she notes, the genre emerged as a response to some of the same kinds of cultural pressures as depth psychology did, beginning in the time of Freud. Since the beginning, women writers have been looking at what it means to be a woman hero. These goddesses are returning through women-authored mysteries because the “mysteries” are, well—“mysteries”—especially in the ancient sense, like the Dionysian mysteries and the Eleusinian mysteries. This is true for all detective fiction and anywhere the imagination is cultivated.

    thesleuthandthegoddessIn the book, Rowland takes a detailed look at each of four ancient Greek goddesses: Hestia, Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, and gives examples of how these goddesses have influenced the Western world and how they show up in specific characters and settings in novels from women writers. Artemis and Aphrodite, for example, are both goddesses of nature and of human nature. As such, they may be seen as ways of knowing.

    The origins of depth psychology and detective fiction are both rooted in problems about “knowledge,” Susan insists. Depth psychology recognizes there is a problem because so much of the psyche is not being acknowledged in the modern world, and that creates a problem.

    Rowland offers the notion that there is often a lot of humor to be found in detective fiction, as well as in Jung, citing examples of Jung’s humorous treatment of certain material. These exemplify how humor is a way of engaging and processing the material.

    In the interview, Susan reveals to me that one of the reasons she wrote the book is that there is so much potential in bringing a depth psychology polytheistic lens to a topic. Detective fiction begins in America, with Edgar Allen Poe, who has been a fascination for depth psychology especially with Lacan. The figure, the detective, knows knowledge is problem—like the psychoanalyst does, Rowland insists. The detective needs to find and identify clues and track them back to something that cannot be known fully—the mystery of life death. Ultimately, there is an urgent cultural need to become the figure who will search for the bigger clues that will reveal the mysteries of the psyche, and this profound archetypal notion is truly at the heart of Rowland’s new The Sleuth and the Goddess.

    You may access this informative interview, "The Return of the Goddesses—in Mysteries!"—Susan Rowland in conversation with Bonnie Bright about Susan's book, The Sleuth and the Goddess: Hestia, Artemis, Athena and Aphrodite in Women's Detective Fiction here (as well as find info to download a free chapter of the book).

    (Approx. 36 mins)


    NOTE: This blog was originally posted on the Pacifica Post at http://www.pacificapost.com/the-return-of-the-goddesses-in-mysteries

    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D., is the principle and founder of Depth Insights which offers a semi-annual scholarly eZine, radio podcasts, and educational webinars. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also completed her Ph.D. She founded Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's first free online academic community for those who are interested in the fields of Depth and Jungian Psychologies in 2010, and DepthPsychologyList.com, a directory to find or list depth-oriented therapists and practitioners by location or services.


  • 21 Sep 2015 10:14 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    50In this depth discussion, Nina Ross (at right) and Bonnie Bright, Ph.D, engage on what happens when one attempts to make art, and the dynamic relationship between art and psychology. Nina offers personal retreats on art and psychology in Santa Fe, NM. Depth Insights™ is a media affiliate of Depth Psychology Alliance.

    Originally aired September 20, 2015
    (approx 35 mins)

    Nina Ross (PhD, LPAT, and ATR) has a PhD. in the Depth Psychology of Art from Union Institute. Nina is an artist, art therapist, and psychotherapist working from a Jungian perspective. Nina has led numerous workshops retreats, and classes at universities, retreat centers and conferences. She is a gentle, experienced and patient guide through the mysterious realms of art and the psyche. View a gallery of Nina's artwork hereVisit www.ninarossphd.com for additional insight to Nina's work

    Bonnie Bright is the principle and founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in Jungian and depth psychologies, of Depth Insights, a media production company that offers a scholarly ezine, radio podcasts, and educational webinars, and Depth Psychology List, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also completed her PhD. 

    MORE DETAILS & LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD 


  • 04 Mar 2015 6:13 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    C.G. Jung, one of the founding fathers of depth psychology, was a strong proponent of balancing rational thought with non-cerebral intelligence, insisting that consciousness inherently resides in the body and in the natural world around us. In fact, he was quite taken by Austrian Nobel prize-winning ethologist Karl von Frisch’s notion of how bees communicated navigational information to their sister bees so that they could forage the best pollen around the hive. Frisch’s research suggested the “waggle dance” performed by bees was both intelligent and purposeful, demonstrating an organizational impulse that stemmed from the “bottom up”—that is, situated on an intelligence that existed a priori in nature (Cambray, 2009).

    Jung’s corresponding work on the concept of synchronicity made great strides in resolving the split between mind and body, the characteristic human form of the larger, more cosmic rift between psyche and nature. Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to mean “meaningful coincidence” after determining that seemingly causally unrelated events, which appeared to be unconnected, had a priori connection to one another, occasionally manifesting in conjunction with one another, bringing meaning (C. G. Jung, 1960/1985). The existence of synchronicity meant that irrational or anomalous phenomena we tend to disregard from a causal perspective actually are part of a larger pattern imbued with meaning (Pauli, Meier, Enz, Fierz, & Jung, 2001).

    Jung determined that the psychological and physical features we perceive in the world are dual aspects of one underlying reality (Pauli et al., 2001). He came to view mind and matter as a continuum, with psyche located on one end and the physiological instinct on the other, and the archetype serving as the bridge between them (C. G. Jung, 1947/1985, p. 216), though he ultimately expressed a desire to do away with a theory of psychophysical parallelism altogether in lieu of a unitary reality known as the unus mundus, a union of spirit, soul and body (C. G. Jung, 1958/1978a, p. 452).

    Pointing to ways in which inanimate objects seem to “collaborate” with the unconscious by forming symbolic patterns, Jung even cited instances where clocks stop at the moment of their owner’s passing, or where items break within a home where someone is going through a powerful emotional crisis.

    The evidence for an enduring connection between the outer world and the inner, embedded within a larger reality, seemed to grow clearer for Jung, particularly later in his life. “Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable, transcendental factors,” he (1947/1985) went on to say, “it is not only possible but fairly probable, even, that psyche and matter are two different aspects of one and the same thing” (p. 215).

    Each of us has likely had some experience of synchronicity in our lives, where things in what we consider the “outer” world seem to be engaging, responding, or interacting with what’s going on in our inner emotional or psychic life. If you begin to pay attention, you’ll notice these kinds of experiences everywhere you go. Could it be because there really is no separation?....


    References

    Cambray, J. (2009). Synchronicity: Nature and psyche in an interconnected universe (1st ed.). College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

    Pauli, W., Meier, C. A., Enz, C. P., Fierz, M., & Jung, C. G. (2001). Atom and archetype: The Pauli/Jung letters, 1932-1958. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Jung, C. G. (1978a). A psychological view of conscience. In H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler & W. McGuire (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (2nd ed., Vol. 10, pp. 437-455). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1958)

    Jung, C. G. (1985). On the nature of the psyche. In H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler & W. McGuire (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (2nd ed., Vol. 8, pp. 159-234). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1947)

    Jung, C. G. (1985). Synchronicity: An acausal connecting principle. In H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler & W. McGuire (Eds.), The collected works of C. G. Jung (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (2nd ed., Vol. 8, pp. 417-519). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1960)


    Bonnie Bright is the principle and founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in Jungian and depth psychologies, Depth Insights, a media production company that offers a scholarly ezine, radio podcasts, and educational webinars, and Depth Psychology List, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also recently completed her PhD. She finished a 2 1/2 year training with African elder Malidoma Some´in Technologies of the Sacred, graduated from a 2-year certificate program in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via Assisi Institute, and has trained extensively in the Enneagram and in Holotropic Breathwork.

  • 15 Oct 2014 7:01 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)
    "Just as conscious contents can vanish into the unconscious, new contents, which have never yet been conscious, can arise from it," (Man and His Symbols, p 25)wrote Carl Gustav Jung, pointing to the critical importance of translating the symbols which show up in our lives through dreams, art, mythology, film, literature and dozens of other sources.


    In Man and His Symbols, Jung spoke eloquently about the way symbols communicate the contents of the unconscious to us, saying...

    Because there are innumerable things beyond the range of human understanding, we constantly use symbolic terms to represent concepts that we cannot define or fully comprehend. This is one reason why all religions employ symbolic language or images . But this conscious use of symbols is only one aspect of a psychological fact of great importance: Man also produces symbols unconsciously and spontaneously, in the form of dreams. (p. 4)

    ...Man, as we realize if we reflect for a moment, never perceives anything fully or comprehends anything completely. He can see, hear, touch, and taste; but how far he sees, how well he hears, what his touch tells him, and what he tastes depend upon the number and quality of his senses. These limit his perception of the world around him. By using scientific instruments he can partly compensate for the deficiencies of his senses. For example, he can extend the range of his vision by binoculars or of his hearing by electrical amplification. But the most elaborate apparatus cannot do more than bring distant or small objects within range of his eyes, or make faint sounds more audible. No matter what instruments he uses, at some point he reaches the edge of certainty beyond which conscious knowledge cannot pass.(p. 4)

    There are, moreover, unconscious aspects of our perception of reality. The first is the fact that even when our senses react to real phenomena, sights, and sounds, they are somehow translated from the realm of reality into that of the mind. Within the mind they become psychic events, whose ultimate nature is unknowable (for the psyche cannot know its own psychical substance). Thus every experience contains an indefinite number of unknown factors, not to speak of the fact that every concrete object is always unknown in certain respects, because we cannot know the ultimate nature of matter itself. (p. 4)

    Then there are certain events of which we have not consciously taken note; they have remained, so to speak, below the threshold of consciousness. They have happened, but they have been absorbed subliminally, without our conscious knowledge. We can become aware of such happenings only in a moment of intuition or by a process of profound thought that leads to a later realization that they must have happened; and though we may have originally ignored their emotional and vital importance, it later wells up from the unconscious as a sort of afterthought. (p. 5)


    Reference

    Jung, Carl Gustav. Man and His Symbols (1964).  Bantam Doubleday Dell, New York: NY


    Bonnie Bright is the principle and and founder of Depth Insights, Depth Psychology Alliance, and Depth Psychology List. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she is currently completing her PhD.

  • 27 Sep 2014 11:14 AM | Kim Hermanson, PhD

    I recently met someone who is an international expert on social change movements. Over breakfast at my favorite café we talked about how successful social protests open up space in places where we think there isn’t any space. The conversation fascinated me because I’ve spent the past two years writing a book about metaphor and the creative process… But what I’m really writing about is space. Creative change happens when a certain kind of Space is opened. That’s what I do in Doorway sessions---my client and I open doors to something that we didn't know existed.

    Even though the space (or ground) is what allows transformation to happen, our focus is typically on the figure---or what is happening within a space. In his book Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle writes: Most people confuse the Now with what happens in the Now, but that’s not what it is. The Now is deeper than what happens in it. It is the space in which it happens.” We have not yet developed ways to see the “space in which it happens.” We might say, “I feel good when I’m in that person’s presence” or “I always have amazing insights in that teacher’s class” or “That person has great energy” but because we have no other way to understand it, we go on about our day and forget about the fertile, creative space that had been opened for us. It stays unseen and unknown.

    As a culture, we focus on glamorous Hollywood stars and action heroes. In the fairy tale Cinderella (or at least one version of the tale) Cinderella steps into the pumpkin-turned-stagecoach, and she becomes a beautiful princess. Although we all adore Cinderella, she’s really just a pretty young girl who was transformed into a princess for a night. The pumpkin is where the true power lies. Being able to offer sacred, creative space is more important than any action that happens within that space. But the pumpkin is the ground and not the figure, so we focus on Cinderella and forget about the pumpkin. After all, the pumpkin hasn’t really done anything to our eyes. Opening imaginal space is subtle, it can't be seen with regular eyes. 

    Techniques for working with images have been around for a long time, likely long before Carl Jung coined the term active imagination. Visualization is considered by many to be the most powerful way to cure illness, make more money, give a great performance, and so forth. But there’s something else that wants to be known---not the tool or technique of visualizing, but the space within which those powerful images lie. The potential of transformative change lies with a particular kind of ground. After all, the creative process is always in movement---individual images are always shifting and changing into something else. If we really want to understand how creative change happens, we need to explore the terrain where those potent images live.

    Kim Hermanson is the founder of Doorway Sessions for creative breakthroughs, adjunct faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the author of Getting Messy: A Guide to Taking Risks and Opening the Imagination.

  • 26 Aug 2014 2:37 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    “Home” is a word weighted with affect and associated with rootedness, attachment, belonging, shelter, refuge, comfort, and identity. When our relationship to “home” is considered in the context of depth psychology, the study of the unconscious pioneered by Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung among others, it stands to reason that our individual notions of “home” may impact us rather profoundly. A severed connection with “home,” particularly with the earth that supports and nurtures us, produces physical, emotional, and psychological implications. That is to say, the lack of a connection with a “home” that offers us a sense of psychological and spiritual wholeness, potentiality, and belonging in a larger archetypal manner may well compose the very heart of our disorder.

    Depth psychology calls for an understanding of how we are influenced by invisible elements beneath the surface of our conscious awareness. Tracing a path from the notion of “home” which we each carry, backward and down into its deeper meaning and psychological effect on us, can begin to shed light on why we treat the earth so destructively that we have come to a state of potential culture collapse. In At Home in the World, Jungian analyst John Hill (2010) relates how the biological origins of home began with the animal instinct to mark territory. The fight or flight mechanism, to defend space or to abandon it and flee, also carries a critical effect on our psyche since home is tied to caretaking, nurturing, and sustenance. Home has an affiliation with landscape, community, and surroundings, and it is connected to history, memory, and clan, Hill asserts, defining it further as a “narrative reality,” the manner in which we attach to a place a person or an object, a nation, a group, a culture or an ideal. These attachments are experiential, conferring a sense of belonging.

    Home, whether a physical place or a psychological concept, is a container for those who reside within its borders. This concept of home as a container, a place to which one can belong, is what C. G. Jung referred to as archetypal. According to Jung (1964), the unconscious is made up of archetypes, autonomous instincts, patterns, or behaviors, which are common across all eras, peoples, and places. Concepts that are archetypal in nature may be recognized without need for definition or explanation. Recognizing and understanding the archetypal aspect of home, then, enables us to see how leaving or losing home can set one askew, rendering us vulnerable, tentative, frightened, and ungroundedundefinedin both a literal and figurative sense.

    ###

    Bonnie Bright is the principle and founder of Depth Insights. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she is currently a PhD candidate. She founded Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's first online academic community for those who are active and interested in the fields of Depth and Jungian Psychologies in 2010 and DepthPsychologyList.com, a directory to find or list depth-oriented therapists and practitioners by location or services.

  • 29 Jul 2014 10:40 AM | Donna May

    Psyche: Your Inner GPS Navigation System

    By

    Donna May

    I was walking this morning and came upon a sign that read: Warning GPS Navigation Times and System Information: Times and Speed Calculations EXTREMELY INACCURATE. The road goes up and over a series of mountainous wilderness areas, ascending and descending through some of the most gorgeous terrain anywhere in the world. And it’s wild, truly “a road less traveled.” The territory is filled with mountain ranges, creeks, tributaries and one of the only remaining free-flowing rivers in the United States. Wildlife is everywhere. Sometimes in winter, the road is impassable, due to snow and ice. During rainy times, an avalanche of rock and debris will rumble down the mountainside, the road becoming impassable. One year, the underside of the road eroded away and there are still parts of the lane where only one car can pass at a time. The landscape is lush, greens of every hue. Little water grottos roll down rock crevices. Deer are common, and there is an occasional siting of a bear, mountain lion, or bobcat. Gorgeous California mountain king snakes, or the more common garter snake, mosey across the road, sometimes stopping to bask on the hot pavement during warmer months. Dragonflies and butterflies create a medley of colors, dancing through shimmery shadow and light. Osprey and eagles can be seen flying overhead, as well as hawks, falcons, blue jays, woodpeckers and other types of birds.

    If you know where to look, there are waterholes for swimming, huge boulders used by locals as diving platforms, and places to sun. Seasonally, salmon swim through and fishing spots, known by generations of local tribes’ people and others, can be found. Bear grass grows here and is used to weave beautiful baskets. This road meanders through sacred spots, believed by many to be the center of all things.

    After many twists and turns, you will reach the top of Etna Mountain, one of the places where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the road. The vistas show mountaintop upon mountaintop undefined a cascade of purple gray mountains awash in green, layers of soft color for as far as the eye can see. From this place, more unseen delights await you on the road: there are alpine lakes, bowls of granite, water so pristine, so clear, you can see the lake bottom. As you journey down this side of the mountain, you will see lupine, wild orchids, dogwoods, wildflowers of hot pink, white and purple. There are flowers so rare, only a few know what they are!

    Along this road, life is only lightly touched by human hand or foot.

    The modern GPS may say this road is the fastest way to the coast; however, locals and nature Herself knows otherwise. Until the sign was installed, vacationers’ GPS devices would tell them that this was the shortest way to the Pacific Coast; however, what the modern electronic device didn’t tell the driver was that even though the mileage was half that of other routes, the time would be double. The GPS also didn’t let the driver know that there wouldn’t be a gas station, bathroom, or place to eat for miles. No amusement parks, corporate food chains, or shopping malls here. Yes, the distance and delights between here and there mean something quite different on this road. This landscape is well worth the trip undefined if you know what you are getting into.

    And so it is with Soul Travels.

    When Psyche calls, it’s not usually a fast track from here to there. The inner travels are in the rhythms of nature. The path to the authentic self is magnificent and wild, inner terrain dynamic and alive. Like the sign on the road this morning, you cannot measure or comprehend the details of your journey by the calculations of modern societal thinking or belief systems. Inner travels require a Soul Compass. Tools for the inner journey: dreams, art, writing, music, dance/movement, meditation and prayer. These are Psyche’s GPS devices, the way to find your True North, Psyche’s call for you.

    The inner landscape of the soul traverses depths and vistas not to be missed; this is an expedition into a different terrain, however, and requires planning, support, and patience. Surround yourself with people who have traveled this road before you, who will support you with your journey.

    Take all the time you need to swim your depths, go fishing for stories, both personal and collective, and listen to what Psyche is singing awake in you. Learn about the center of all things and take time to weave together the reeds of experience and dreams into your most beautiful work of art: you. Your Soul Journeys will require you to not measure yourself and your calling by outside devices, people, places or things. This may be tough going at times, but well worth the effort.

    If you are called to something, called to travel Psyche’s Road, you know it. You can do this.

    ###


    Donna May is a therapist, educator and author of the upcoming book Psyche’s Call: Putting the Soul Back in to Psychology. She is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Siskiyous and is a board member for the Depth Psychology Alliance. She is passionate about the need for, and utilization of, depth psychology tools in these modern and changing times and does counseling and consultations in her Etna, CA office and via videoconferencing. Donna facilitates classes and workshops in and out of Siskiyou County, including her popular Soul Callings Workshops in Mt. Shasta and Story Tending Circles which utilize active imagination, art, writing, and drumming/music to deepen participants’ connection with their inner terrain and soul callings. She also offers free Psyche’s Call Writing Prompts that go out daily to people all over the world (http://www.psychescall.com/writing). You can connect with her on Facebook (Psyche’s Call with Donna May), Twitter (@Psyches_Call), LinkedIn & Pinterest. To learn more about Donna and her work, go to: http://www.psychescall.com.

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