Although only some of us talk aloud to ourselves, all of us have inner voices, even if we are not aware of them. These autonomous parts of ourselves provide running commentary on how and what we are doing. Are our inner commentators friendly and supportive, or critical and attacking? We turn to fairy tales, stories that arise from the collective unconscious, for wisdom about our relationship with those parts of ourselves that tend to operate autonomously. The Ill-Fated Princess must climb a mountain to confront and befriend her ?bad Fate,? after which her destructive unconscious complex befriends her. In Vasalisa the Beautiful, a loving mother gives her daughter a doll that provides good advice in difficult situations. The bad Fate and Vasalisa?s doll illustrate the process of noticing how we relate to other parts of ourselves?and by changing a negative inner dynamic we become more whole.
I am alone in Aunt Gloria?s house and I know I?m there because I am house- and pet-sitting for her. There are several cats I?m taking care of but suddenly a bird flies in the window and all the cats are chasing it. Then a stray cat gets in and all are hissing and bristling. I run down the stairs and there are two mice on an armrest, but one appears almost dead. When I look closer, it is dead and there is a note by it that says something like ?Satan, I know you could?ve done this deal yourself.? I look up and a bedraggled and skinny old man is standing at the top of the stairs and I know then his name is brandy-mouthed Bob. I?m frightened of him. He comes down the stairs toward me aggressively and said, ? Should we throw some punches?? I didn?t know what to do so I grabbed his skinny wrists and tried to hold his arms back, afraid he would bite me.
We define dating as the quest for serious partnership or ongoing companionship. Today?s dating world is radically different from that of even a generation ago, and is light years away from previous generations. Dating apps and social media expedite and expand the range the search for a suitable other - and often turns dating into an exercise in personal marketing. Dating also now spans an age range from teens to older - even elderly - divorced or widowed adults. If today?s dating culture provides individuals with autonomy and choice, it also denies them the safeguards provided by family, religious, and cultural norms. The online persona may be very different from the actual person, from age and appearance to character misrepresentation. Lacking social context and mutually understood social norms, individuals are required to be more aware of what they seek in another. They also need to be more aware of the projections and relational complexes to which they are susceptible.
I was in a big Catholic cathedral; maybe in Spain or Italy. A mass was about to start. A usually generous friend of mine pushed passed me and took the last seat with a good view, one-in from the end of a row. Then I was standing near what seemed to be the tower of an Anglican church, which stood inside the Catholic cathedral. The doors of the tower flew open and a 2 metre tall black plinth on wheels was pushed out. On the plinth was a devilish/trickster character in a black Renaissance costume, making a scary face like Hannibal Lecter. I felt some fear but also the thrill of the theatrical spectacle.
The life transition we call retirement mandates a major readjustment in how time, energy and money are spent, whether retirement means becoming a ?snowbird? or having a stepped-down lifestyle. Work has structured the rhythm of life and time; most have found aspects of identity, status, and socialization at work, regardless of how fulfilling, arduous or well paid it may have been. Shakespeare?s King Lear and the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon illustrate contrasting inner attitudes and their outcomes. Jung believed that the second half of life had a prospective and healing function in the psyche. If retirement can be considered redirection, these years hold promise: life can now be oriented to internal life and meaning, especially awareness of the ego?s secondary place in relation to the Self.
I am in a McDonald?s, waiting for my younger sister to collect her meal. Her order is called and we pick it up, the meal is excessive ? a huge portion of chips and lots of nuggets, so I steal a chip. As she is eating I look around; the McDonald?s is filthy and disgusting. There are graffitied yellow plastic chairs, dim lighting and a bare concrete floor covered in litter. It smells disgusting - like stale chip fat and smoke. People are smoking inside and everyone looks mean/dodgy/scary dirty. I do my best to avoid eye contact with them all. As we leave a smelly and dirty older man holds out the door and asks where I am sleeping tonight. I feel disgusted and rush away. As I turn a corner I am in a dark alleyway. My sister has gone. I check my pockets and my bus pass, phone and keys have also gone. I have no money or way to get home but I know I need to get to the bus stop to get away from this place. I glance over my shoulder and a hooded man is following me. I walk faster and then turn to look again, this time he starts running towards me. As he gets closer I realize he has no face. As he approaches me at fast pace his outstretched arm strikes me very hard in the throat. The pain felt so real I jolted awake - heart racing and panting.
Frankl, Viktor E. Man?s Search for Meaning, Beacon Press, 1959 (and subsequent editions). http://a.co/g0wAOJk
Chronic illnesses affect many, creating diminishment of physical ability and energy for life activities. There can be loss of agency, loss of one?s expected future, and a sharpened awareness of loss of life. There is a new need for conscious intention and reality-based decisions in order to avoid denial while adjusting to limitations and managing self-care. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss emotional factors in the loss of the healthy, autonomous self ?and the possibility of a profound shift in inner life. The blindness of mythological figures like Tiresias and Oedipus symbolized the development of inner vision; Jungian Harry Wilmer used active imagination to personify his tuberculosis bacteria. And Jung believed that chronic illness could serve the process of individuation.
In this latest dream it was a massive, hard, dry poo that wouldn?t come out so I had to get my fingers in and stretch my skin around it to help it pass, thinking as I did about how it must be like giving birth and I understood why doctors cut the skin. The scene was back in the home I grew up in with my parents and brother who is 18 months older than me. In the dream the toilet looked straight into the kitchen. Mum was in the kitchen the whole time encouraging me but not directly helping. Dad was in and out of the room aware of what I was dealing with but not getting involved. I think to myself, for a man who has always been so embarrassed by his own bodily functions, even that is an impressive level of involvement. Our neighbors over the fence - a house full of boys - could partially see and hear what was going on as well. When the poo finally passed my brother and Dad both came in to inspect it with me. It was the size and weight of a house brick and my brother was fascinated by it. He picked it up and took a photo of it and laughed a little bit with me about it. I didn?t otherwise find the situation funny but went along with him. Then there was still a small bit in there so I had to repeat the ordeal again to get rid of that too.
Edinger, Edward. Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy.
Wilmer, Harry. Huber the Tuber: A Story of Tuberculosis
Experiences of physical abandonment are depicted in stories old and new as ways of out-picturing traumas of early relational abandonment. Jung articulated the archetypal foundation of what later psychologists came to call attachment theory. In an infant?s primal state of identification with a mothering other, lack of caregiver availability and attunement constitutes psychic abandonment. This is depicted in fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and the more recent film, Pan?s Labyrinth. Both image of the inner world of the emotionally abandoned child: the archetypal world first comes forward to protect the abandoned child, only to become persecutory, like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Abandonment may become internalized, manifesting as denial of one?s own feelings and needs. Getting in touch with one?s longing for a loving other, and grieving early loss is often the road to redemption.
Here?s the dream we discuss:
I'm in a house by the sea, to see and somehow help a woman. I first meet her outside - a dark, handsome man is a few paces behind her and I take him to be her lover. She appears to be in her 30s.
Later we are inside with her family - her father has invited me there. Her husband (older, pudgier and more domesticated than her lover, but seemingly intelligent and relatively attractive) and father are talking about a sailing trip. She, sitting off to the side, interjects that she's always wanted to do a long solo voyage. Clearly this is a conversation that has happened before. Her father says it wouldn't be safe, and her husband agrees. Either she or I (I'm unsure) comment that they are more worried about her being dangerous than they are something happening to her. At this point I/we are thinking of the lover, who the family are unaware of.
The father calmly comments that there's a large wave rising on the sea. He's standing at a window watching it. I come to take a look - it's huge; more tidal wave than wave. It breaks on the house and starts to wash it away. I'm holding on and realise that I'm in an untenable situation. I go back in time slightly, and this time as the wave hits I climb into a wooden box.
After the water has receded I get out and try to find the family. I find the father and husband, but cannot see the woman. I'm unsure if that's because she was swept away, or because now I am the woman.
Kalsched, Donald. The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit.
Although cults occasionally make the headlines through tragedy or scandal, the defining features of cults are inherently human and manifest on spectrums of both severity and size. The word cult is derived from culture. While culture refers to the overarching characteristics of a society, cult refers negatively to a marginalized subgroup. Cults tap into universal human feelings and desires, such as the need to belong and resonance to parental influence. Although as adults we are no longer dependent on family and tribe for physical survival, our psychological needs for safety and attachment remain powerful. Deb, Lisa, and Joseph consider today?s polarized political divisions, the power of a rock concert or Fourth of July parade, and other ways in which the tension between the opposites of belonging and individuation manifests.
I am my current self with my current boyfriend, but I had just got married to a woman. This woman had a very powerful presence and felt radiant. She gave me a beautiful silver ring with a turquoise stone, but it didn't fit properly so I kept losing it. Each time I found it, she would add to the ring and make it even more beautiful. I told my boyfriend that I married her and that I am very happy. He took it well, and asked if we could still talk to each other and see each other every day. I said I didn't think there was a problem with that.
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Burnout is a relatively new term for job-related distress or an ongoing life situation that is unsatisfying, defeating, and creates a sense of despair. Burnout robs us of our sense of control and agency?we feel unable to change the troubling situation. Burnout can also be related to our internalized parents, moral convictions, and sense of duty. We can count on fairy tales, our psychic skeletons, to provide wisdom on resolving age-old human situations, even if they are couched in new terminology.
In Rumpelstiltskin a young woman is told she must turn straw into gold, a mission-impossible situation. The Water of Life depicts a dying king, representative of a masculine ruling principle, who needs healing water to renew the psychic situation. We may, like the maiden faced with a roomful of straw, need to find new possibility and empowerment?or discover the inner well within that provides new water for a parched attitude. Accessing one?s internal sense of vocation, purpose and meaning has always been?and remains?necessary and attainable.
Here?s the dream we discuss
I find myself in a dark place, somewhere else, and I am hearing a male voice that I cannot see (coming from behind me towards the left side of my body) telling me what to do. I am obeying submissively, wanting him to know I was docile and serving him completely. I was simply cleaning a coffee machine; it seemed like an easy and ordinary task he had asked me to do and I wanted to show him how well I could do it. Suddenly, what I thought to be a black coffee machine turned out to be a human-sized male mannequin. The voice said: clean him too, clean him well. It had a wig with black mid-long hair and it had a disturbing fixed expression on its face like a rictus. It was wearing a black tuxedo with a frilly white shirt underneath.
It scared me and disturbed me a bit but I was completely drawn to the voice and wanted to serve it, so I was cleaning with devotion--a long, creepy, silent moment. I really didn't like its outfit, and the voice then ordered me to change the mannequin's clothes to something less ceremonial. I mentally browsed my ex-husband's clothes for casual jeans and a casual shirt for the mannequin that I could grab but realized that the jeans were too small for him. I realized that the mannequin couldn't fit in "normal" less attention-grabbing clothes. The presence of that mannequin was so creepy that I woke up.
ReferencesFind out more about the Philadelphia Jung Seminar. Mythologems by James Hollis Memories, Dreams, Reflections by CG Jung Fairy tales: The Water of Life and Rumpelstiltskin (see Brothers Grimm)
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Although the word voyage connotes a sea journey, this episode considers a voyage to be an intentional trip of any kind. A voyage can range from a vacation in Vegas to a pilgrimage to a sacred site. Such journeys may be solitary, or, like the famed pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales, in the company of fellow travelers. We tell our stories to others and to ourselves, companioned by our own inner images and/or others. Voyages take us to unfamiliar places, and a changed external environment stimulates projections, judgments and reactions. Free of the constraints of cultural norms and internalized values, a new landscape provides an opportunity to experience ourselves as a stranger to others -- and perhaps to ourselves. When at last we return home we are changed, perhaps transformed.
Here?s the dream we discuss:
(This dream was 15yrs ago) I am leading a group of men walking up a cobblestone road in a village high up in the Himalayas. I have a wooden staff and am walking quickly. A panicked man runs towards us saying "They have the children!" We start to run toward a large wooden building with a stone roof. The only access is a wooden staircase. I climb the staircase that leads to an open room with children pinned in fear against the walls. In the centre of the room is a demon with a highly muscular body covered in fine red hair and a pig/human head. There are many more in the room. It ignores us and is about to rape a young naked boy who is bent over in front of it. My fear turns to white anger and my staff turns into a sword which I lift up to my right ear with both hands. The demon turns to me just as I cut its head off. A pitched battle starts between my men and the demons. We initially succeed but the demons start to conquer. My last thought is calm and peaceful. It is "Today I die but what a way to die."
You can read more here about the Philadelphia Jung Seminar.
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We all shed tears. We cry when we are sad, but also when we are glad, surprised by beauty, love, or touched by other deeply felt and uniquely human experiences. Tears, and our access to them, are part of what makes us human, and when we cannot find our tears we have lost a vital link to feeling, whether for another or a part of ourselves. In their negative aspect, tears can signify the falseness of crocodile tears or affective hardening and bitterness; teardrop tattoos represent experiences of violence. In this episode Deb, Lisa and Joseph circumambulate various aspects of the significance of tears, using the touchstones of fairy tales, alchemy, myth, religion and more to uncover the importance of tears, especially in their redemptive, or whole-making, aspect.
I was a prince in a European kingdom in the Middle Ages. I was gathered with the royal family in a small but lavish room of our castle. The kingdom was suffering due to the ineptitude, corruption, and libertinism of the royal family. One princess was a harlot, and drained funds that ought to have been spent on the people. I conspired with the monk, robed in black, to kill the royal family in order to save the kingdom. I slaughtered all of them with my sword. I even killed the children present, feeling the cruelty of my act, because I knew that if I let them live they would grow up to take revenge on me. There was gallons of blood. After the killing was done, I was physically and emotionally drained, and I didn't know if I had actually saved the kingdom or committed pointless slaughter. The kingdom was nearly empty, for much of the populace had fled earlier due to the royal family's corruption.
We can experience powerful feelings of empathy for those who are victims of trauma in all its heartbreaking dimensions. It is difficult even to consider a shadow side to this already dark aspect of human experience. Nevertheless, it is important also to consider the difference between lived experiences of victimization and meaning-making narratives that not only can become calcified, but self-reinforcing. If entrenched, narratives of victimization can become part of one?s identity and suppress life energy. Lisa, Deb and Joseph differentiate the emotions involved in suffering, mourning and acceptance from more reified states of powerlessness. They describe how the presence of a wisely witnessing other can help with healing, empowerment, and finding the path ahead to a more liberated sense of self.
I am being held in a prison against my will and I am sharing a cell with a male colleague from work. The cell is very cold and silent. The whole place feels very sterile. When I look out of the window, I realize we are imprisoned on the moon. My male colleague is talking to me with an intensity in his expression. He is demanding a lot of my attention and he says he wants me and needs me and that he has been having dreams about me- but I am trying to focus on getting out of the cell. Hesays it?s too late, and we are going to be executed in the most cosmic way- by being ejected into a black hole together.
Eye Movement Desensitization Movement (EMDR)
Individuation, the central concept of Jung?s psychology, is the foundational image and aspiration of Jungian psychoanalysis ? and life. It is the theme of many a fairy tale, the sought-for treasure of a quest, and the ?juice? that makes symbols compelling. Individuation has an innate developmental arc and a psychological trajectory that allows us to bring conscious intention to our own individuation process. However, vital transformational events are not simply occurrences ego alone can command; they are ultimately mysterious. They arise independently from the unconscious and what Jung termed the Self, the center, circumference and true center of the personality. In this episode Joseph, Lisa and Deb circumambulate and amplify the concept of individuation and images of the Self.
In the beginning of the dream, it's morning. I'm waiting for my father in the house where I grew up. We are about to drive halfway across the country to look at graduate schools. It is nearing afternoon and we still haven't left the house. I know from previous experience that it takes more than a full day of driving to reach our destination, which leaves me feeling anxious.
Now my parents and I are in the car heading down the highway. From the backseat, where I used to sit, I'm looking outside. We reach an empty stretch of road surrounded on either side by farmland. The sky is overcast- halfway between rain and sunset; I notice a few geese flying across the road from the left of my line of vision in a small V-shaped formation. Once they have reached the other side they circle back, flying in the opposite direction; they have doubled in numbers and form a more unified chevron.
I am standing in a field with my girlfriend. We are watching the dark shapes of the geese bobbing in the dusk. Suddenly they start to glow, one by one, as if each is carrying on their bodies a neon orb, similar to a brake light. I look down in the mud by my shoes and see a broken red light, one that could fit on a bike; I tell my girlfriend that the cracked object must have come from the geese. She agrees with me, which I find very reassuring.
Images of physical dismemberment are often used in fairy tales, dreams and art to depict psychological fragmentation, numbing and other forms of disconnection. Such cut-offs, dissociations, and splits may be related to earlier relational trauma, and constitute defenses against experiences perceived as too overwhelming for consciousness to absorb or even acknowledge. Experience can be dissociated, or dismembered, behaviorally, emotionally, bodily, and by denying memory or knowledge of events. Jungian Analyst Donald Kalsched posits an inner dynamic that is both protective and persecutory. Such understandings can point the way to a healing process of re-membering those parts that have been cut off, thereby giving disowned feelings and experiences a fully felt place in consciousness.
"In this dream, I remember being in a building that reminded me of a hospital or perhaps an asylum. It was very clinical looking (i.e. lots of steel and glass, white and silver walls / trim, people in smocks or scrubs). I was walking up a small stairway and looked through a doorway to see blood and body parts on the ground in front of me. Somehow I know that it was two separate bodies, but I do not know who they belonged to. When I saw the body parts, I was anxious and had to stop myself from passing out inside the dream because I had a feeling that whoever did that to the bodies could be nearby. As I gathered myself, I began to walk away from the bodies very calmly to avoid drawing attention to myself. As I walked away I saw a man, probably in his fifties or sixties, also a stranger, carrying a silver platter with more body parts. As I passed him, he said hello and smiled as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I then ran out of the building and vaguely remember running through a maze that had been set up on a basketball court until I was outside the building in a small grass field. The building was made of brick and seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It had that look that many academic buildings have on college campuses."
Kalsched, Donald. The Inner World of Trauma, Routledge, 1996.
Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book, Harper, 2008.
Little, Margaret. Psychotic Anxieties and Containment: An Analysis with Donald Winnicott.
Henderson, Joseph L. and Dyane N. Sherwood. Transformation of the Psyche, Routledge, 2003.
For an image of The Golden Head
Anything that disappears from your psychological inventory is apt to turn up in the guise of a hostile neighbor, who will inevitably arouse your anger and make you aggressive. It is surely better to know that your worst enemy is right there in your own heart.
~CG Jung, Vol 10, para 456
Very often the ego experiences a vague feeling of moral defeat and then behaves all the more defensively, defiantly, and self-righteously, thus setting up a vicious circle which only increases its feeling of inferiority. ~CG Jung Vol 9ii, para 34
We all take offense, from feeling miffed at a thoughtless but cutting comment to being suffused with righteous rage. Others may fail to meet our expectations, agree with deep values, or hold us in positive regard. These experiences can spark effective and defensive reactions, since what offends us often lies in our shadow and is incompatible with how we wish to be perceived. Taking offense also occurs at a cultural level. ?Offenders? can be publicly excoriated, exiled from a group or organization, or denied the right to deliver a speech. The experience of offense can be a call to differentiate between a feeling and actual harm?and to meet the implicit challenge of holding the tension between the comfort of being ?right? and an opportunity to engage in growth.
My neighbor, a 20-something guy who works in the "alternative healing" field, and who I don't usually talk to much, was being friendly, chatting with me about his band and their website. Then he was telling me about a lemon tincture he was taking. He would mix it with blood and drink it. He said I should go to his house and get some and try it, and that if I didn't have any blood, I should order some. He said this as if I could call a delivery service and the blood would show up at my door in no time. I inwardly balked at the idea of drinking blood. I told him I would mix it with water instead, and he said no, that blood was the only way to do it. He said, "Trust me. It's way better with blood." I didn't say so, but I was shocked that he was drinking blood. To me, it was just too crazy and weird and gross, even if it did have some kind of miraculous healing properties. I was willing to try the tincture, but not in blood, though I didn't tell him this.
In this episode, the archetype of the bitch is explored using fairy tales, mythology, and popular culture to shed light on this colloquial, pejorative term. The term is applied most frequently to assertive women - and to men acting in a way deemed "feminine" - who are either not sufficiently in touch with their own authentic power or seem overly invested in power dynamics. What is the secret of authentic feminine power?
We reference the myths of Cassandra, Persephone, Inanna, The Frog Prince (Grimm), and The Devil Wears Prada (film), Spirited Away (film), Boys in the Band (film).
"I?m walking into a room in which there?s a group of men standing around a table, most of them are looking intently at it. I see there is a map spread across the table. One of the men looks up from it, and nods toward the table, inviting me to take a closer look. In the middle of the map, there?s a round symbol I?ve never seen before, and this is what has the group so rapt. I?m not sure what it is, but I get the sense that it is very important, so I lean in to examine it closely. It?s a circle inscribing a sort of rivet/mushroom/umbrella shape. On one side of the stem are two squares, and on the other side is one square. I wake up with a sense of urgency and immediately go to draw the shape."
Having mixed feelings, or strongly opposing feelings is a normal occurrence in human life. We can find ourselves in a quandary about big decisions, upcoming life events, or experience being stuck without quite knowing why. Deb, Joseph, and Lisa consider various facets of ambivalence: anxiety around foreclosing options and missing out fear of regret over a possible wrong choice, or inability to raise complexes and shadow elements into consciousness. All aspects of the personality need to be allowed to dialogue and have it out with one another. Instead of complicating matters and adding to stasis, this process releases energy for movement in life. We can come to accept the certainty of uncertainty?and find our life-giving psychic wellsprings.
I was walking on a cobbled street looking for a store where honey was sold. I was looking for honey to heal (however, I don't know what was that I needed to heal). I entered into the store through what seemed to be the back door. Inside, I saw wooden shelves with glass mason jars full of different-colored honey on them. The room was rustic and had a dim light, though sunrays illuminated it. One of my great aunts from my mother's side, whose name is C., was there working, filling up bottles with honey. She greeted me and was happy to see me as she always is, and
the owner of the place, whose face I don't remember, came to me and told me the honey would help me heal. He gave me honey. I think I ate it because it was for me to taste; I don't remember clearly. However, I do remember he also told me to cover my body with honey, especially over my arms, chest, belly, face and hair, so he poured some honey on my hand (I think it was the left hand), because the hand was the most effective way to cover my body, according to him. I did cover.
The honey had chunks of honeycomb in it. The owner told me to eat the honeycomb chunks, so I grabbed a honeycomb chunk I had in the left side of my neck with my right hand, and ate it. Its taste was delicious.
Jung, C.G. Aion (Volume 9ii, Collected Works)
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens, HarperCollins, 2015.
This episode, inspired by the new album by the Korean band BTS, explains and amplifies the Jungian concept of the persona. Like the cornea of the eye, persona both shields us and makes opening up to the world possible. In ancient Greek theater, the actors wore masks that identified their roles, or personae. Similarly, we adjust our outward presentation to others according to the appropriate roles we play in the workplace, with neighbors, or close friends and family. A persona that is too rigid can give one a center that is too determined by outside values and influences; a persona that is not solid enough can result in poor adaptation to the outer world or one that can be swept away by incursions from the unconscious. Altogether the persona is the social archetype and represents a compromise between adaption to social realities and individuality.
My wife and I are in a kitchen, or someplace with wooden cabinets and soffits, and wooden counters. It might not be a kitchen.
There?s this large wooden head standing on the counter. It?s larger than a human head, elongated, and stylized like an Easter Island head but more handsome, no huge ears, and carved in more detail.
The head says things. Periodically, not like a conversation. I notice that the things it?s saying are very articulate, and it's very charming.
My wife is making something out of plastic. It?s a rigid container or sheath that fits the head exactly. We try to distract the head so that it doesn?t object, but he doesn?t notice as we lower him gently into the plastic casing. It just keeps talking, on and off. Finally, we screw the lid on top.
We can still hear a muffled talking. I worry if he can breathe.
The personal shadow is created as a normal part of development, as we learn what behaviors, values and feelings are not acceptable in our family, school, or religious tradition. In order to be accepted by needed significant others, parts of ourselves have to be split off from consciousness and are therefore relegated to the unconscious as shadow. A major part of becoming more whole is discovering these exiled parts of ourselves and integrating the feelings they carry. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss some of the ways that shadow can be confronted and given a place at the table of consciousness.
I?m in my Dad?s wood shop, in the basement of the home where I grew up. I need to unscrew a panel on a metal box, and I?m finding the right screwdriver. The first one I pick up is too small, Mom hands me a better-sized one, a Phillips head with four fins. Somehow it is a very large size, and I notice the fins on the head are rusty. I sand away some of the rust on one of the fins, but when I come to the second, it is covered in masking tape. Instead of peeling off the tape, I try to sand away the masking tape, but the sandpaper continues to sand into the screwdriver fin itself, which is somehow made of corrugated cardboard. I am puzzled. I feel a pit in my stomach, like I?ve made a mistake. I find that only the first of the four fins is made of metal, the rest are cardboard. I ?undo? (like you would on a computer) to get back to where I was after sanding the metal fin. The cardboard fins are intact again and I?m relieved. I then unscrew and open the panel of the box.
People who are chronically late create relational problems with others and generate negative consequences for themselves, from embarrassment and guilt to loss of friendships or jobs. Chronic lateness evidences a split between consciousness and the unconscious: while the ego may feel distressed about lateness, the unconscious may be expressing an unmet need and deriving a benefit from lateness. That is why self-help strategies such as setting multiple alarm clocks and allowing extra time for travel seldom solve the problem of chronic lateness or feel satisfying. Lisa, Joseph, and Deb discuss possible unconscious motivations for lateness, including its role as an inelegant effort at individuation.
I begin the dream in a giant mall-like building. It stretches as far as I can see. There are no stores or other people. There are only dozens of escalators at different levels leading different places, much like a multi-story maze. I find the place exciting in its expanse. I next find myself leaving the building through an outdoor walkway which leads to a little cabin surrounded by plants, trees, and grass. There are 5 or 6 other people here, all of whom I consider friends. Suddenly, I'm aware I need to fetch something from the basement of the giant building. Problem is, I need a key. Everyone has a key, except I lost mine. There's an extra key in the cabin, but I'm told it's possessed and I shouldn't use it. However, whatever it is I need from the basement is tremendously important, so I decide to grab the key and go. I venture back to the building and make my way up and down many escalators, finally finding the basement. I don't remember anything about the basement, only that I find what I'm looking for. I'm excited as I make my way back to the cabin. However, once I reach it, my vision becomes entirely blue. Yellow words flash up on what looks like a blue screen, though I don't know what the writing says. This blue screen disappears quickly, and what's left is a purplish-grey screen with a black orb in the bottom right corner. I understand the orb to be an eye, which watches me intently. I wake up with my heart racing.
One of the issues clients bring into the therapeutic consulting room is dissatisfaction with the state of their marriage or partnership. Although this dilemma often takes shape as bipolar, it represents a challenge to engagement with deep, defended parts of self and relationship. Joseph, Lisa and Deb make it clear they are not focusing on issues like abuse or addiction, but the more subtle yet substantial ways in which people can feel dissatisfied. Partners often hold deep aspects of the other?s shadow; for example, if one person has a fear of abandonment the other may have an equally strong fear of engulfment. They discuss stages of marriage / partnership, from romantic to parenting to empty nest, and the ongoing need for evolving relational awareness, especially in discerning the difference between individual complexes and relational problems.
I feel chunks missing from my molars on the bottom left, and spit it out into my hand, It?s three pieces of different teeth plus one full tooth. I look in the mirror and there is no tooth missing but the broken pieces match up. My mouth is like Gollum?s and my teeth in front are shifted right and are thin and pointed like vampire teeth.
Listeners contributed examples of precognitive dreams for this episode. Lisa, Joseph, and Deb discuss theoretical concepts and listener dreams from various vantage points: the intuitive capacity of the unconscious, the synchronous intersection of matter and psyche, and activation of an archetype. These and other ways of knowing are beyond the scope of ego and call us to the realization that the ego, as Jung said, is a part of and connected to something larger that is ultimately mysterious. Jung compared this process to the plants called rhizomes. Their horizontal underground stems which put out lateral shoots and flowers that pop up, as into consciousness, at various intervals. Jung also likened precognition to weather forecasting, likely possibilities subject to a variety of manifestations.
Listeners? Precognitive Dreams Discussed (not necessarily in order)I was at a Subway (sandwich shop) and I was buying a $5 Footlong (sandwich). When I was checking out the person at the register said my total was $11.20. I ended up not buying the sandwich and left the restaurant. That was the end of the dream. The very next day my friends and I were playing a game called ?What do you Meme? and this was my first time ever playing the game. There are 250 pictures and 250 random captions and the point of the game is to give a picture a caption. I chose 5 caption cards at random and the very first card I chose was captioned: When your $5 Footlong Subway sandwich turns out to be $11.29. Mind you, there were 250 cards for me to choose from and that?s the very fist one I picked! Approximately 30 years ago I had a dream (that) haunts me to this day?I was 21 or so and my brother 19. He left for active duty in the army. For a week or so, I had very odd vivid dreams regarding him. The most prevailing theme of the dreams was death. The final dream of that time period was me opening my apartment door, the person knocking fell through my doorway, holding their face, writhing in pain, and having short dark hair. Moments later, more knocking began, I called through the closed door, requesting to know who it was?it was my brother trying to enter with a gun?I held the door closed?while looking over my shoulder at the individual squirming in pain on the floor, asking if he/she was OK. This dream occurred in March of that year. Later in that same year in August, we planned a trip out of town so I thought I would make contact with a friend in that area, to possibly meet at some point to catch up on things. I called her number, her husband answered?I asked to speak with MJ and he remained silent for a moment. He then stated MJ had died in March of a suicide. MJ had short dark hair, as the person did in my dream. A gun was involved in both her suicide as well as my dream. And the dream occurred in March, the month she killed herself. In the dreams I suddenly realize that I am about to give birth. I casually find an available place to lie down?a table, a couch, or a picnic blanket. I give birth quickly without any effort or pain, and two toddlers, a boy and a girl, run around the table, couch, or picnic blanket joyfully yelling, ?Mommy, Mommy, Mommy?! I had twins, a boy and a girl. I had the first of these dreams before pregnancy was even confirmed, and did not know I was carrying twins until my 7th month; their sex was known only at birth. I am an Indigenous Australian woman. I was taken away from my birth mother at the age of 4 months. Fostered, then adopted by Scandinavian parents at 4 years old. I left home at 18 and pursued a career as a community advocate, married and have 2 children. The laws changed in Australia when I was 30 so that I was able to gain my original birth certificate and some small bits of information about my birth mother. The dream commenced my journey to find my birth family. I dreamt of 7 women in the desert, red earth country, in line next to each other with digging sticks. They were all singing a song in language I did not understand. They were digging in unison searching for yams. I was feeling so serene and full of joy. Then I dreamt of all these older men and women smiling and speaking to me in language I did not understand. They at the end of the dream conveyed a sense of urgency, a job I must do. Through my phone calls that day I found my birth mother and my eldest sister. My mum lives 2 streets from me. Since that day 27 years ago I have found all my family. I am at peace. I have had tons of precognitive dreams throughout my life, The past 5 years they have been happening more. The most recent two was after I had had my first pregnancy. I miscarried the baby at 12 weeks and was really torn up about it. My partner and I were separating and I was just overall confused with my entire life at that point and very suicidal. One night I had a dream of a little boy, maybe 8 or so, and he told me, ?Wait until December.? Asked him why but he would just keep telling me to wait. That it was important and he promised everything would be okay. I had that dream in September. And it left me with such a feeling that I can?t describe. It was very powerful, so I waited for December. Nothing happened. By then I had somewhat healed from the miscarriage and was doing well living on my own. My partner and I were separated but still seeing each other but agreed a relationship wasn?t right at the moment. Fast forward to February and my period is late. So I take a pregnancy test and it comes up negative. I save it for whatever reason and continue on. A few weeks later I still don?t have my period, which isn?t out of the ordinary for me, but I feel weird. I look at the pregnancy test I took a few weeks prior and see the faintest second line. Of course I cried. I couldn?t believe it. When I went in to get my first ultrasound they told me I conceived sometime in December. It made me smile. I believe that is what the little boy was telling me to wait for. While I was pregnant I would have dreams of the same little boy. But as I got farther in my pregnancy he got younger in my dreams. I could see his face and I knew his name and everything. I knew I was having a boy but asked the ultrasound techs not to tell me because I wanted a gender reveal party. When I was 8 months pregnant we did the reveal and just like I had guessed, it was a boy! And when I finally gave birth, he had the same face of the little boy I always saw in my dreams. The same boy who told me to wait until December.
I was standing in front of a house - my house (although it did not resemble my actual house). It was the first time I had been round the front of the house, as usually, I would enter via the back door. I had run out of space in my back garden for more plants, and so I was excited to discover all this space at the front of the house, for planting. However, all of the available planting space was in the shade or under cover of some sort. There was a nice area right in front of the house, but it sloped downwards towards the house so it would be tricky to plant there. In addition, I thought that area was too close to the house to plant a tree, in case it interfered with the foundations. Just next to this sloping ground I noticed that at the point where the sunshine did actually reach the ground, some beautiful bluebells were growing.
Lisa, Joseph, and Deb explore and explain what the analytic process is like for them as they work with clients. Deb describes her interactions with clients using a rectangular diagram that, like the Scottish flag, traces lines going from the two upper corners to the two lower corners. This represents the multi-directional flow of energy in the session between the conscious and unconscious contents of both people. The analytic process is also likened to a chemical reaction in which both people are changed - referencing alchemical images that Jung used, it?s compared to two people sitting in a bath together. These are all ways of illustrating that the process of analytic therapy is as important to the analyst as it is to the client.
The Dream: I was sitting on the steps of a big old brick building in a small town. It seemed like a quaint old fashioned town. The day was warm and sunny. I was upset about something and my therapist was standing in front of me. I can't remember what I was telling her, but as she stood in front of me, she kept removing her shirt and throwing it on the ground. She never picked it up and put it back on, she just had so many shirts on. Over and over, removing one shirt and tossing it aside.
Everyone shops?we have access to an astonishing choice of products. Internet shopping has multiplied our range of options beyond what nearby retail stores may have to offer. Desired items range from mountain climbing trucks to gold jewelry to highly specialized cookware items. What are we seeking for our inner selves as we shop for outer objects? For some, utilitarian objects carry libido, whereas for others shopping is an aesthetic, adventurous, relational, or aspirational experience. Joseph, Deb and Lisa explore the possible personal meanings of shopping.
Winter. I'm in a remote cabin with a group of young people. Cabin is old and empty, with holes in the walls, and freezing drafts going back and forth. I feel terribly out of place, unsure who are these young people, and why I'm here with them, in this god forsaken place. Under the floor we find a frozen body of an old man: white beard, white hair, calm face as if in deep contemplation. We don't know who he is.
Suddenly, a swarm of reptiles coming at us - strange snake-like chimeric creatures. Their attack is vicious. I have a clay tablet in my hands and I use it as a shield against them. Suddenly, the attack is over. I look at my clay tablet and I see that where the reptiles attacked there is a writing in the ancient language that I wish I'd understand but I don't. I want to leave but the young people are begging me to stay. I open the door and find myself face to face with an old and gorgeous winter forest. My heart aches with longing to walk into the forest, and I decide to stay.
Preoccupation and obsession with food?a condition called orthorexia--can take the form of the quest for health and purity, with rigid rules about food categories, such as the need for all-organic ingredients or omitting food groups such as dairy, sugar, and gluten in the absence of identified physiological intolerances. This overall effort to banish anxiety can take the form of an implicit bargain (eating ?right? guarantees health), a strong need for ego control, elitism, specific community values, and banishing shadow by projecting it onto ?bad? foods. The person may be also be seeking connection with the archetypal, or religious realm that has become concretized around food.
I am in a large multilevel food court in a mall which is very empty. I'm carrying a tray of food and I'm looking for my mom who I know is somewhere in the food court and I want to sit and eat with her. As I walk through the food court I become distracted looking at the food stalls. One stall, in particular, catches my attention, through a window behind the service counter I see a bustling kitchen scene, many chefs cooking, lots of steam and smoke and fire leaping into the air. I want to eat the food from this stall. As I'm looking through the window at the kitchen, I realize the window is a TV screen and the kitchen scene is just a video. I awake.
Estrangement from members of one?s family and others takes place far more often than seems commonly acknowledged. Estrangement involves psychologically cutting-off, repressing, and defending against connection with another who has come to be experienced as ?all bad.? People may move away geographically, refuse to talk to a certain person, or simply give someone the ?cold shoulder.? Joseph, Lisa and Deb discuss the importance of setting appropriate boundaries with others and understanding that estrangement is also an internal phenomenon.
I see a middle-aged man fixing a fence. The dogs that are in the yard with him are behaved -- they are not trying to go through the big opening in the fence. Then the man is inside a house fixing the trim on a wooden doorway. I "know" him -- and I ask, "Will you treat me?" There is a deep feeling of acceptance and he says, "We will start tomorrow." I go off to get ready for tomorrow.
As Jung well knew, eros ? love ? is an essential part of the analytic process. In Vol. 16 of his Collected Works Jung used alchemical images of a king and queen to illustrate the various ways in which erotic feeling can enter the consulting room. The safety of a time-limited, fee-based relationship is important to allow a full range of feelings and fantasies to be admitted into consciousness without being enacted. Idealizing and erotic feelings for another can pave the way to finding one?s center in oneself.
"I was some kid, with a family. The family left me out of some event, and then they went on a hot-air balloon trip without me. After returning, when I complain, the mother announces that I'm "ready" for it, and prepares to have intercourse with me. But just then, her upper body turns into a giant snake and moved to devour me. And that woke me up."
Link to the Rosarium Images
Many a fairy tale features hiding as a strategic defense. Jack, of beanstalk fame, hides from the giant in order to survive and discover his treasure. We often hide when we feel small and life events and people feel big. Hiding can be a conscious decision, whether for fun, as in the game of hide and seek, or out of necessity, as Anne Frank?s family?s had to do. Hiding can also be an unconscious phenomenon, particularly if there has been trauma, in order to protect the inviolable life of the soul. How, then, does an individual come out of hiding to discover him- or herself?
I was on a mountain trip in a van driven by a man with dreadlocks. He was driving myself and some others high up on the mountainside. It was a beautiful and clear winter day. I suddenly had a feeling that we were going to crash. It was a very windy road and he was driving so fast that he couldn't make the hairpin turn. We flew off the road and into mid-air. Life was suddenly in slow motion and I thought I should try to call my boyfriend while we were flying through the air and tell him what was happening. I awoke before the van started to fall.
The Inner World of Trauma and The Soul and Trauma by Donald Kalsched, PhD. Available on Amazon.
With ?The Wall? very much in the forefront of national discussion, Deb, Lisa and Joseph reflect on the archetype of walls. Some may be stonewalls simply marking boundaries between neighbors. Others may be massive defenses like the Great Wall of China. What do walls keep out ? or keep in? What do we need to create necessary separation, and what walls off connection with our own shadow that may be projected onto immigrants. When we focus on building a wall, do we neglect our internal infrastructure, health care and education?and eventually shut down our government? This discussion explores parallels between external and internal walls.
I am in my parents? home and preparing to sleep, when I feel scared and I see through window just shining eyes looking at me from dark. I come closer and open the terrace door and I see an old lady, and I start yelling at her and waving with my hands to make her go. I want to scream but I have no voice and then my partner wakes me up. I was lying in bed, feeling scared for couple of moments, more...
Football is a uniquely American sport with millions of fans, heroic teams, and stadiums reminiscent of colosseums. As the Super Bowl approaches ? television?s most watched show ? Lisa, Joseph and Deb consider the archetypal underpinnings that contribute to making football America?s most watched sport. They consider the light and dark sides of fandom, the hero?s journey, the battleground, and more.
For some reason, I brought kitty litter to the bathroom -- it was not for a cat (since I don't have one anymore) but had some other purpose. Well, as soon as I put it down, my (former) cat, Smoky immediately ran into it. I was surprised to see her, since she's been gone (dead) for years. But she was right there and obviously needed to use the litter urgently. I had the impulse to pull her away, but held back, realizing that she needs to use the bathroom and it's really important not to disturb her in doing that. Then, as I was watching her in the litter box, I saw that she was wrestling with a mouse. As I watched the scene, I saw that both Smoky and the mouse were the same size (the size of a large mouse). Smoky seemed to be winning, but it was definitely a wrestle. They were raising up dust and moving very quickly, so it was hard to see what was happening, but I saw Smoky making cuts on the mouse's back/body, and even saw some blood. I had the sense of cheering her on.
Heartbreak is more primal, more pervasive, and more related to one?s sense of self than sadness. Our hearts can break over the death of a dearly loved other, including a pet?and our hearts can break over the death of a relationship and the death of our hopes and dreams, and our innocence, idealizations, and the psychic needs we believe another can fulfill. Heartbreak is mythological and fairy tale theme, which illustrates its central place in the human psyche, and in them we find clues to how one heals from this devastating experience.
I am in a distant and unfamiliar town. I enter into a restaurant, but I don?t have any money. I peek into the kitchen and casually ask one of the employees to hand me a bowl. I go over to the other side of the restaurant and begin to get some soup from the pot and eat it. Then one of the employees comes over to me, he?s speaking Spanish and I can?t understand him, but he?s clearly asking me if I paid for it. I am not really acknowledging him directly and jokingly say: no habl? Ingles. I finish the soup and casually walk out, and know at this point that the employee will try and catch me. I hide in the forest, and wait for him to pass by, then begin to run in a different direction. I see the employee running around trying to search for me. Slowly, with the help of an unknown figure that?s with me, I make it back to my car, but am constantly scanning to see where the employee is. I start driving off, but I notice almost immediately that my car is not at full power, it?s revving high and not producing enough torque or speed but continue to drive anyway. The town is small but feels kind of like a maze, and struggle to find my way out of it. Eventually the road ends and turns into a dirt trail that has tall grass further down, but there is a path where the grass had been pressed down from barn animals having stepped on it. Had it been the higher grass, I don?t think my car would have had enough power to plow through it. My car is really struggling at this point, and barely moving forward. Then out of nowhere a baby deer who appears frightened begins to run closer and closer to me, almost as if to get underneath me sort of like baby elephants do with their mother when they need protection. It no longer feels like I?m driving, but rather riding a bicycle; as the deer gets closer and closer, I keep pedaling and know that it?s eventually going to get run over. The deer gets nicked and starts crying. I stop my bicycle and pick him up, and begin to coddle and pet and kiss him. I really try to comfort him, and apologize to him repeatedly. I can feel his little wet nose sniff me as I kiss him. The little deer is so vulnerable and can?t get enough of comforting him. It gives me a warm feeling to comfort and protect him.
What is ?I?m sorry? as a habitual response really about? There?s the preemptive apology that is offered to forestall possible criticism, the apology that evokes reassurance from others, the apology for falling short of perfection?and more. This episode explores developmental, interpersonal, and intrapsychic dynamics of various kinds of habitual apologizing. We?ll be sorry if it falls short of your expectations.
I'm at a holiday "work party" for the very exclusive private school where I work, but it's in a big, old, rather shabby hotel that reminds me of a firehouse where my family used to have annual holiday gatherings. I'm mingling among all of the people and (as is true in my conscious life) can't seem to find a group with which I feel completely comfortable or myself. I feel like a lonely misfit in disguise, feigning conformity and pleasant attitude. I go upstairs to where the bathroom is supposed to be, and it feels very far away from the party--the second floor is creepily empty and quiet, with several large, empty rooms. I don't remember actually going into a bathroom, but as I'm about to go back downstairs to the party, I see an infant boy teetering at the top of the staircase on the landing. He is far too small to be walking. I immediately pick him up to save him, and he looks up at me, clearly distressed, and begins speaking as a much older child would. I ask him where his mother is, and he says he doesn't know, and is crying.
I don't remember all of what he says, but he tells me that he is in kindergarten. I hold him to my chest and he begins to calm down, eventually falling asleep. I feel affection for him and give him a kiss on the cheek, but I'm alarmed and unsure of what we will do. I go downstairs to the bartender of this party and ask where this boy's mother might be. He says, "probably in the party upstairs." No one at the work party seems to notice or care that I have this lost baby. I go back upstairs, and as before, there is no one there--just an open door exposing a room with these creepy, industrial looking blue closet doors (almost like storage spaces) underneath a fluorescent light. I feel a deep sense that this situation is not right, and a strong determination to get myself and the baby out of there. The dream ends with me standing on the landing, baby still pressed against me.
How is Jungian analysis different from other psychotherapies? What are its major components and distinguishing features? And what makes it effective? Lisa, Deb, and Joseph discuss Jungian analysis as a nonlinear process that is not limited to problem-solving or reducing symptoms. Instead, Jungian analysis is grounded in an inherent capacity to grow into wholeness, a process Jung called individuation. Jungian analysis places a high value on all the processes and multiplicities of the unconscious, from symptoms to work with dreams, in order to facilitate the integration of denied or devalued aspects of the personality. The four particular stages of an analytic journey, which may overlap, are explained: catharsis, elucidation, education, and transformation?altogether an abiding fullness of being.
I?m in the front room of my home. It is a farmhouse with views from the room of rolling hills. I?m looking after my two young boys inside and the room is in chaos. An unexpected visitor enters the room, it is my friend who is a vicar. We have children a similar age and I think he has come for a playdate, but I realize he has turned up for a therapy session. He wants to discuss his addiction but I can?t focus as I need to look after the children. I also wonder how I have let this happen?he?s my friend and this is my home; I feel guilty I have let this happen.
This week we sat down with Dave from Shrink Rap Radio to discuss dream analysis. We hope you enjoy and happy holidays!
As the holiday season approaches, we examine the tidal pull of the ancient, archetypal power of the solstice season. Because of this underpinning, together with the power of family narratives, roles, and complexes, the holidays can be fraught with intense feeling, from hope to regression to disappointment. We discuss ways to manage feelings, intention, and behavior.
"I am in a bathhouse (Turkish bath) and sitting immersed in the pool of warm water to my waist. I am sitting with my back to a rectangle column made out of black granite. I have my arms are stretched like a crucifix and my hands are holding onto the column that is behind me. The pool is made out of green granite. To my left there is an altar made out of cubic-shaped granite and on which sits a woman who is a sage, a seer, a fortune-teller, or a magician. She is wearing a long dress and is sitting crossed legged. My back is hot and dries the film of water on the column and as the column dries my back leaves marks on the column. The marks are magical symbols. They resemble the Japanese Zen art that is done by a water-wet brush on a black rock and it fades as water dries. The woman comes and looks at them and she is flabbergasted. She has never seen magical marks such as these.
In the bottom of the pool and in front of me there is a piece of green granite with a circular metal inlay and a ring attached to the circular metal. It resembles the remains of a counterweight that would have been used in opening the gates to castles. I look at it and with the power of my mere stare the rock floats up to the surface of the water and glides on the surface. Then the rock starts skipping on the surface of water 3 times and lands on the skirt of the woman who is back on the altar."
The myth of Narcissus constitutes the archetypal root of the character structure of narcissism. Aspects of narcissism run from the healthy developmental narcissism of a child to the toxic narcissism of the psychopath, but all have in common a lack of empathy, whether momentary or chronic. We offer some thoughts on how to tell if you are in a relationship with a narcissist and what to do about it.
My ex-wife moves back in together, and then she starts belittling (me) like she used to when we were together, which I don?t like. After she does it a few times, I determinedly tell her to move out, and then I remember that she moved into my house, not the other way around?I don?t have to allow her to stay.
What does it mean to separate from one?s parents and parental complexes?the attitudes and values that have been deeply instilled since infancy? How do we discern when we are in a parental complex, whether we are aligned with it or rebelling against it? What can we do to resolve the hold these complexes can have over us and become more of our unique, individuated selves?
I was in front of a white house. I felt like it belonged to me. Some creatures attacked. I remember two of them, one was blue and the other one red. The red one was called Prometheus. I also had allies with me, but I paid no attention to them as they were behind me. It was a fierce fight. We fought with the creatures and after awhile the creatures fled, except Prometheus. I fought with him, and in the end I subdued him, grabbing him by the head and speaking some kind of banishment to him. He collapsed. After the battle I withdrew to the house to rest. As I was catching my breath, I turned around and see Prometheus, now transformed into a lion with a fiery mane and glowing eyes. I roared like a lion trying to protect its territory and he roared back. We stood there for awhile and then he comes closer and tells me: ?Don?t you see you?re everything to me??
Kwame Scruggs? work with young men can be accessed through:
Loneliness is a deeply human and universal experience. Lisa, Joseph and Deb examine it from multiple perspectives: as it may be experienced in young adulthood versus older years; as reflective of the need for attachment and relational security; as comparable to the alchemical metaphors of calcinatio and solutio; as a call to activation in outer and inner worlds; and as a psychologically toxic phenomenon.
I dreamt I was haphazardly packing up my family?s things after a stay at a friend?s house. In the bathroom I find I have my period and have bled through all my cloth pads. My underwear in soaked and bright red. I am overwhelmed by the color and amount of blood. Could I use their washing machine, I wonder? After some thought I decide to make a pad with toilet paper. Then I head upstairs looking for my husband and kids.
Going up I remember that we considered buying this house once but decided it was too big and needed too much work. It?s beautiful now. I go upstairs to the attic. There are deep rich rugs and walls in browns and reds, quiet tables and chairs. It feels good. High ceilings, 30 feet, but the space is still warm and encompassing. My family is here. I see the kids' bunk bed to the left. In front of me is a huge window with a view of an enormous maple tree in full red color. It is astonishing, such beauty, leaves rustling. Talking with my husband I recall how when we last saw this place it was derelict, holes in the roof, floor boards missing, pipes exposed. A real mess. The transformation is incredible. I think of the work and expense it was to bring those windows up! I love this place.
To the left there is another huge window split in three sections and shows a long view across plains to distant mountains. We are shockingly high. The view is beautiful but suddenly I fee dizzy. I am afraid of heights and need to sit down. My son is fooling around near the windows. I tell myself he?s fine but I am still afraid. Are the windows sound? I tell myself he?ll be fine, my husband is with him, but can?t tolerate the feeling. I head for the stairs down.
The archetype of the scapegoat goes back to the ancient Hebrew ritual of using two goats to expiate the sins of the tribe. Sin, blame, and wrongness are also often attributed to others, and this practice ? scapegoating ? is addressed as it occurs in current culture, in families, and in individual psychology.
I hiked to a ?primitive? tribal village. I went there as a researcher, perhaps an anthropologist. As I was standing talking to one of the men, an angry woman with a crying infant stomped toward our area and plunged her infant (backside first) into a plastic basin of water as if to drown her. Bubbles came from the infant?s mouth while under water. I started to run over there to rescue the baby, but the man (or something) held me back. The woman pulled the baby out of the water, looked at her face briefly, and then plunged her back into the water ? this time face down. At this, I immediately ran to the baby and pulled her out of the water. I held her face down and pounded on her back in an attempt to get the water out of her lungs. While I was watching/doing all of this, I was aware that I wanted to save the child, not because I cared about her, or because I cared about children in general, but because I knew what it felt like to drown. Water came out of the infant?s mouth, she coughed a lot, and then seemed okay. She was able to breathe. The angry mother had stood there watching me. She was now calm. She wanted her baby back, and although I felt apprehensive about returning the child, I did. The woman and child seemed fine. I wanted to have the child removed from the abusive, dangerous environment, but the mother reassured me everything was fine. I had to leave. The mother was smiling as she cradled her baby; she seemed genuinely happy/content, but I still worried a bit about the infant.
Lisa, Joseph, and Deb circumambulate the difficult issue of gender reassignment. They discuss the significance of teen girls wishing to transition and the current tendency to foreclose the meaning of this and move rapidly into medical procedures, a process of concretization instead of curiosity and exploration. Lisa discusses previous examples of symptoms and their diagnoses in history, leading to an understanding of the influence of cultural factors on mental illnesses and diagnosis. Finally, gender reassignment is considered as a Promethean venture, and although it is now possible to challenge the gods of genetics, it is also truly awe-full. We suggest that gender transitioning, like much else, can be psychologically transformative only if there is a conscious relationship to it.
Lisa's writings on the topic include three articles in Quillette:
This article in the Jungian journal Psychological Perspectives:
And a chapter in this book, which also includes a chapter from UK Jungian analyst Bob Withers:
I am lying in bed with a man I do not know and we are both naked. We are covered by a thin blanket. The man's right hand man comes in the room to discuss something with him. The man in bed with me gets up and does not clothe himself but nonchalantly takes off his penis and hands it to me. It is not bloody or gory and he seems to know that he can put it back on; I am just holding it for him. I'm not sure what to do so I take it under the blanket and lay it on my lower abdomen. The man tells his partner, as he points at me, that he should take a picture for his Dad because they see the outline of the penis under the blanket.
What happens when one is held captive by the mud of messiness? We try to understand sloppiness as a defense against overwhelming emotions, ongoing enmeshment in the primal maternal matrix, a regression to a younger and less differentiated self, and a tendency to overvalue objects as compensation for an inadequate ability to symbolize.
I am swimming in an indoor public pool with others when waves begin to occur for no apparent or antecedent reason. I am in a pool that shouldn?t have waves. As the waves begin to bob me around, the water level rises dramatically, quickly. The water reaches nearly to the top of a cinderblock retaining wall that is protecting a sunny, sacred green forest glade with a shrine far down below. Another person I don?t recognize, also male about my age begins to chip away at the retaining wall, cracking, crumbling it until it gives way. Darkness rushes in violently, and I awake to see myself in the third person floating in dank, dark blue, murky water that is endless in form and size. A graphic overlay of five hearts (much like a Zelda video game?s heart display) is shown on top of me as I float, alive but ultimately devoured by the flood.
Compulsive eating is a complicated psychological and biological problem. Food addiction can be a way of defending against unmet needs by displacing emotional hunger onto food. We discuss how infant experiences with eating and soothing can shape one?s relationship to food in adulthood. Two fairy tales tell of parents with insatiably devouring babies and illustrate the consequences of failure to develop affect regulation and how that can lead to various vulnerabilities to addiction.
My skin (not sure what body part) had green mold on it, like the intense green mold that grows on an orange. When I try to peel it off, I discover it is about a centimeter thick and that it comes away in spongy chunks leaving a very uneven skin surface?once again, like the contrast between peel, pith, and segments of an orange. I feel alarmed. I stop peeling worrying the whole structure will collapse.
We consider literalism as a normal state in childhood; children?s literalism can be funny and charming. We grow first into the ability to understand metaphor and conceptualize symbols and levels of meaning. Literalism can then serve as a defense against uncertainty, as ego?s resistance to any threat to its power, and as a refusal to confront unwelcome truths from the unconscious. A symbolic attitude, however, opens the inner world to adventure, mystery and creativity.
I had a wild animal skin. At first, I thought it was a zebra skin but then I realized it something more rare and dangerous, the skin of a white tiger. I knew it was wrong and illegal to have it but I loved it and it felt so warm, comfortable, and safe to be inside of it.
This podcast relates envy and jealousy to early developmental dynamics, with envy related to the dyad of mother-and-baby and jealousy arriving a bit later, when the child realizes that sometimes he is left out of his parent?s relationship with one another. Envy is related to early narcissism, a sense of inferiority and primal emotions, often resulting in the urge to destroy the envied person or object. Jealousy, because it is related to longing, can motivate a person to strive for what is desired. Rumi, a Persian poet, wrote about existential and universal aspects of longing for the divine, and how, inherent in the longing, lies connection.
I was in a house, standing in the kitchen, an attractive and intimate young couple exits one of the rooms, there greet me and leave. The male is playful, the female is glowing they are happy. Beside me on the table is a red book, I felt as though I had written part of it. The number '22' and 'Libra' stand out. I look towards the front door, my ex fianceé walks in, she approaches me and walks right past into a dark room as I point to the book. She did not stop, make eye contact or acknowledge my presence. Her eyes had lost all sharpness, swollen, glazed over and zombie like, powerless and filled with vile, I sensed only a flickering of life within her. Surprised that I was not startled. I waited in the kitchen with fear that she may emerge from the dark room and abuse me for having 'rearranged' her things.
Boredom is not depression or dissociation, sadness or loneliness?but what is it? We consider boredom from various perspectives: lack of access to one?s inner world, a relational deficit, a defense against unwanted feelings, a byproduct of reliance on technology to command attention, and lack of access to enlivening transpersonal energies. We surmise that the antidote to boredom lies in the ability to pay attention, as this can generate connection and meaning.
I had a rather strange dream the other night where I was on a bridge. A very long bridge and on this bridge were statues of people. They were all in different positions but seemed like they were marching but frozen in place. When I intensely looked at one of them it started to move and break open free. I think I did the same thing to other statues and they moved. The next part of the dream I was at the beginning of the bridge and I saw that tall giant woman. It was an uncle?s wife, she is a doctor, very beautiful, and she looked like a queen or had that feeling of wearing a crown. Very regal. And she talked down to me giving me advice that I can?t remember. The next part of the dream she was wearing alluring black top and shorts.
In this podcast, we focus on animals as symbols of instincts that have often been repressed in order to conform to cultural norms. When some aspect of our instinctual nature returns to us as a dream animal we can find ourselves fleeing, fighting, denying, or befriending an aspect of ourselves represented by that animal. Because animals have objectively known characteristics, dream creatures can provide specific clues about lost aspects of ourselves that we may need to reclaim. Finding the right relationship to our inner animals can contribute to our wholeness.
I am in the kitchen in our house (the house is huge with very big kitchen and back door leading from the kitchen to what it seems like a farm yard) and trying to prepare some food. My father (who is not living with us in my dream and is separated from my mother) bursts in the kitchen. He is drunk and looking for food to eat. His dog is following him. The dog is very beautiful German Shepherd like, the long hair type variety and completely beige/blond in color. I love the dog very, very much. My father isn?t in a good mood. He starts digging in the fridge for food and complaining that there isn?t anything to eat. He starts pushing things and shouting that there isn?t even any fruit to eat. I am trying to calm him down and give him some of my fruit I bought for breakfast. He is getting more demanding and greedy insisting I give him more and more. I am getting upset, as I am not going to have any fruit left for my breakfast. On the following day the whole scene in the kitchen repeats again. I am giving my father cherries and he keeps asking for more until he gets all my cherries. When I run out of cherries (which I really love and wanted to enjoy eating, so I am very upset he took them all from me) he starts demanding I give him all my blueberries too. I give him some, but he keeps insisting for more and he is getting very greedy. His hands are full and he can?t hold any more blueberries, but he keeps asking for more. The blueberries are starting to roll off his hand and fall on the floor. I am growing more upset and angry at him. I am trying to get him to stop demanding more and go away. The feeling that I hate him and my anger and feeling of disgust towards him are growing inside of me and I am about to burst out shouting and who knows what else. I am already half shouting at him to stop being so greedy. At this moment the dog starts to half bark, half cry very loudly and I know this means my mum is coming back home. My father?s dog adores my mother and always reacts like that when she is around. In the next moment my mum enters the kitchen through the back door and the dog runs to her for big hug and pet. My mum adores the dog too. We all do. He is such a beautiful and cuddly thing and I couldn?t understand why it is with my dad. I always wished the dog stayed with us when they split. We all felt like we lost a sibling?I almost felt like I don?t want to see my drunk, horrible and greedy father, but I don?t want to lose his dog and in order to see the dog I have to put up with my father?s greed and bad behavior (Strange)?. I wake up
We referenced The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Symbols, ARAS (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism), Taschen publishers, 2010.
The experience of betrayal is painful, confusing, and damaging to one?s basic sense of self and reality. The betrayer is often seized by feelings that demand gratification and involve self-deceit, abandonment of responsibility and empathy for the other. Are there ever times when betrayal is necessary for growth, either as the betrayed or the betrayer? Can betrayal be used as a call to deepened feeling, increased consciousness and more creative self-expression?
I was in a house that belonged to my parents, but it wasn't a house my parents have ever actually lived in. My boyfriend and I were fooling around in the bathtub. I was enjoying myself but he warned me that we were making a mess. I turned around and saw that we had somehow flooded the bathroom with several inches of water. I started to panic about how angry my parents were going to be.
There was a radio on the floor that was an actual radio that my dad owned when I was a child. I was afraid to step out of the tub and into the water because I thought I'd be electrocuted. I was able to lean out and unplug the radio, and music that I hadn't realized was playing stopped. I jumped out of the tub to grab a bucket to try to deal with the water, but by then most of it had drained away. I was trying to scoop up what was left and dump it down the drain. My boyfriend wasn't helping and I was getting mad at him. He seemed to think it wasn't any big deal because the water was almost gone. I told him that the water had obviously drained into other parts of the house, causing damage, and that my parents were still going to be angry.
Divinatory systems have been used for thousands of years as a source of help and direction to people wishing to resolve situations of personal uncertainty. Jung used the I Ching for 30 years before he met Richard Wilhelm and found confirmation of its usefulness in Wilhelm?s translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower. We explore the value of divination through the I Ching and the Tarot, and link this to the concept of a unified field that can facilitate a healing relationship with the Self.
"I?m sitting on a concrete ledge. A few feet below is mud. A loved, beaded bracelet slips off into the mud and begins to sink. I know I cannot reach it. The feeling of anger and frustration toward myself and the situation distracts me for so long that when I regain clarity I realize it?s late, and I am far from home. I also become aware of a family of brown bears below, a mother and two cubs, father some distance away. The need to get away from the bears and find a safe place to sleep takes over. I look behind me into a beautiful, green grassy space and see a metal fenced off area about the size of a basketball court. A cage with no roof! I run to it for safety, whilst the bears meander calmly in the distance. Although they appear peaceful, I know that if parents? protective instincts kick in then I?m in danger. I find the gate to the cage and let myself in, questioning if bears can climb the fence. I?m terrified they?ll see and hear me, so resist the urge to move fast. I quietly, slowly slide the lock on the gate across. Feeling safe and relieved, I look around for somewhere to lie down. It?s all very muddy, which surprisingly doesn?t faze me. I find a spot and lie down, settling into the soft mud, although when I roll over I see that I have lain down next to huge, twelve-foot-tall gorilla, which I initially think is a bear who is asleep but rolling over and toward me, about to land on me! My final thought before waking is if that rolls onto me I will never get away. How did I not notice it was there?"
In selecting the topic for this podcast, we are pleased to acknowledge and, we hope fulfill, the request of a listener, Colin P.
Here's a link for The Matrix and Meaning of Character`
And here's a link for the I Ching app.
The experience of motherhood evokes powerful feelings, ranging from joy and bonding to anger and rejection. If we can develop a conscious relationship with these feelings, we meet both denied aspects of ourselves?our shadows?and experience the pleasures and enrichment of mothering that serve the individuation process.
You can learn more about Lisa's work on motherhood here.
I was visiting the home of a friend who doesn?t exist in the real world. She lives with her mother in a house near woods in another state. She?s very talkative and a good friend but is ill and can?t work. We hung around the house and laughed and talked, can?t recall what about?shared history, I guess. I was sure this was not my first visit and we?ve known each other a long time. To stress again, the person in the dream is nobody I?ve ever met in real life. We connected well but I had to go. I wanted to call her but didn?t have a phone number. She said she would email me. I woke with a sense of confusion that my friend didn?t actually exist.
Many people have difficulty making decisions, whether large or small. Among other factors, the psychology behind the fear of making a decision can be related to fear of making a mistake, lack of motivation, suppressed anger and aggression, and difficulty accepting the limitations and ordinariness of adulthood.
Last night I had what felt like an important dream. I was in a big new house. In one room I was just waking up with the cousin who is closest to me. The room was dark and filled with shadows. The other room was filled with light and I saw a woman waiting for me to wake up. We had both gone to the kitchen and as she got closer she was a girl I had a crush on in high school in very much detail. In high school I was always afraid to come talk to her?now she was coming to me. She was wearing my boxers and tank top and saw me and went right to the fridge and pulled out some tea. One of her friends was there too, whom I knew but didn?t know too well. We were all talking and having fun but with me and her, we kept looking at each other, drinking tea and coffee. I had the sense that something great is coming into my life.
The pressure to conform to familial and cultural values provides guidelines for each new generation ? and can also stifle the uniqueness necessary not only to the individual but to family and cultural health. How can we discern when differentiation from established norms is in the service of meaningful growth and soul versus avoidance of necessary developmental challenge? This podcast engages this issue as both interpersonal and intrapsychic conflict.
A recurring dream I have had for years. I am in someone else?s house and unable to find my way to my bedroom to sleep. I open doors and wander corridors. There are other people around. Sometimes I find my room to find other people in my bed. Sometimes the house is a holiday cottage or a university hall of residence, or a hotel or a huge rambling house. I never find a place to sleep.
At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging (Zurich Lecture Series in Analytical Psychology) by John Hill