Dear members of the depth psychology community, 

Like many of you, I was stunned by the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election yesterday, November 8, and have spent the day mourning for so many things that feel like they have been lost. As a woman, I am keenly aware that the moment for electing our first woman president has evaporated, but on a much deeper level, I am also profoundly distressed by the election of someone who is so clearly disrepectful of women and lacks compassion and understanding for so many who are marginalized, including other minorities, other species, and planet itself. I wonder how all these deep feelings, including anger, are going to be manifest in coming weeks, months, and years.

Like some of you, also, I seem to bounce between feeling numb and being distraught, even questioning on some level what role I play in all of this, and whether the calling I feel to make depth psychology more accessible in the world actually does a bit of good on some many levels. And yet, I know I must have hope: hope for our future, for our young people and generations to come; for everyone who is suffering and will continue to suffer in the face of a political system that favors certain groups over others. 

We live in a world that is as challenged as it has ever been, and yet I maintain a powerful faith in the patterns at work in a world where change is the only constant. I know there is something bigger at work. I am certain I see only a narrow slice of what's at work. I believe in the idea that nature is constantly reaching out to us to pull us back from the brink of extinction (an idea I first encountered in Jerome Bernstein's groundbreaking work, Living in the Borderland.) Some part of me wonders if Donald Trump had to be elected because it will serve as a catalyst to something new; because people will be more innovative in creating change, be inspired to action in a different way, collaborate together with those they may not have engaged with before.

Ten years ago I experienced a profound awakening of my own—so powerful it sent me into what Stan Grof aptly terms "spiritual emergency"—basically, when something spiritual happens that sends one spiraling into emergency. Somehow, at that time, I believe I managed to tap into something bigger than me, a pattern at work in which I play a part and which is playing out not only for the good of each of us individually, but for us as a collective, a species which is resilient, conscious, and able to evolve and learn and love one another. What I experienced then was a taste of what we truly are as divine souls, and the stunning realization that as earthly beings caught up in human bodies and conditioned by culture outside our control, we have truly "settled" for something we can't begin to grasp. Each of us is different, and perceives our lives on earth in different ways, and we each must find our way to carry the torch for new beginnings, for hope in humanity, for belief that we can truly evolve as a species. I think being willing to participate in community is one of the ways these things can manifest. I hope you believe that too.

If anyone feels moved to share your own thoughts and feelings about all of this, please feel free to respond below. If you have criticisms or comments on political parties or policies, maybe your forum is elsewhere. If you wish to provide a depth psychological response or lens, or simply an authentic contribution (it could even be in the form of art or poetry), please respond below, and let us each hold one another in love, compassion, and a willingness to hold the tension as much as we possibly can.

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  • I just wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude for each and every person who has responded here (and also in the Alliance Facebook group).

    As I continue to watch the fallout around me, the grief, anger, and distress these events have instigated in so many across the country and even in the world, and to read the thoughtful and reflective comments made here, I am encouraged by the opportunity depth psychology offers for each of us to begin to hold our own emotions and also the conflicts and differences of opinions that many of us face with loved ones whose opinions differ from our own--whatever they may be. I find some solace in a sense of conscious community. Please keep the comments coming, and much love to you all.

  • Hi Paul - thanks for your deeply thought through posts - I'm fascinated by your project and your active imagination style inner dreaming re the archetypal Earth impersonation as we go through these geopolitical palpitations. The evironmental side to the disintegrations of the collective psyche is not often discussed given modern humans are so profoundly anthropocentric, so thank you for your thoughts. kind regards Ian

  • Hello fellow Alliance members,

    I concur that our goal is to achieve for ourselves and the global community the peace that trust brings. Thank you, Tatiana Kokkori, for your wisdom. I sense that understanding the archetypal forces at work in the world, plus understanding the autonomous complexes that have hold of humanity (particularly those that are active in the U.S. in psyche), is vital for awakening trust in the global population and for attaining peace. 

    I resonate with Peter Todd's description of the transformative process that humankind is going through as the Individuation of God (Thank you, Peter) - though it would feel more natural to me to call it the "individuation of the Creator within humanity". I also appreciate the reminder from Ian Irvine that the Trickster is a reconciler of opposites. Richard Nixon, an historical Trickster figure in the American Dream, performed a potent role in reconciling East & West. The union of East/West opposites which has occurred in the collective psyche since Nixon delivered the symbolic Olive Branch to China has truly been phenomenal.

    In response to the question raised concerning the interaction between the personal and transpersonal... in my understanding, individuals who perform archetypal roles in the collective psyche (such as Hitler, Nixon, and now Trump) come to life because the transformative process in which we are collectively engaged calls for their manifestation at the time. It is absolutely vital for the global population to understand the process in order to understand what is happening in the world today on the deepest level. I believe it is vital because, for the Creator within humanity, achieving the state of peace depends on trust in the process, which includes trust in the opposition.

    I too am frightened by the similarities between the current situation and the pre-Holocaust World War II build-up. However, a critical difference between then and now is the much broader Self-awareness and far greater consciousness of wholeness, which have emerged since World War II, through cultural and economic globalization, global diaspora, the internet, and World Wide Web. My questions are: How can depth psychology principles and practices be applied in strengthening the consciousness of oneness in the collective psyche? How can depth psychology strategies be used to bolster the ego structures in the collective psyche?

    In dream analysis, it is typical to see movement to the right and an intensification of the conflict of opposites during the final stages of the opening of the Ego-Self Axis. Today, we are seeing such perturbations in the collective psyche, most notably in the U.S., but also evident throughout the world. I was heartened by the earlier post where someone mentioned that she went to work discouraged the day after election but during the course of the day felt encouraged by the awareness that the election is causing people to become mobilized. It will be interesting to see whether the ego structures in the collective psyche can contain the energy when the compensatory forces become mobilized--or if we shall go through a brutal crackdown. 

  • Organization

    One could only wish an even more vehement reaction was unleashed when Edward Snowden informed the world of the enormity of emergent surveillance state. 

  • Organization

    Holy carolli. A lot of projections are being churned up at this point. What puzzles me is how Trump has become the scapegoat for the muck his predecessors have made of the political economic and social order. About  70% of American GDP is attributable to consumer spending. Whereas the majority of Americans now cannot afford a pot to piss in. 94 million Americans who are able to work are not working. 30% of  Americans have no retirement savings. Half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Over 17 million kids went to college only to become waiters or flight attendants. 62% of Americans do not even have $1000 in the bank.11 million Americans spend half their income on rent. Nearly 50% of recent college graduates are working in jobs where no college degree is required. One out of three American households cannot afford rent food and transportation costs. 

    Stop intellectualizing and look what is happening in the real world. The majority of Americans are experiencing an economic depression. That you don't see 46 million Americans lining up in the bread lines like they did during the depression is just a matter of the food stamp cosmetic.

    And what did our politician do. They shipped 70,000 companies out of the USA under the auspecies of Nafta. Millions of high paying jobs were eliminated in the American heartland. Even worse they shipped our actual manufacturing and technological legacy to china. They then flooded America with 25 million illegal immigrants. Why to create competition in the American workplace. A competition to take the wages and standard of living of Americans down. In the process these jaspers ran up  $20 trillion in debt and America is all but bankrupt and ready for an economic collapse... Withdraw your projections and take a look at the real world. Change is coming whether we like it or not. Demonizing Trump is not the solution to America's problems. Throwing the old guard out before they took the whole shebang down with them was the only option. It is our only chance. I appreciate your laudible progressive viewpoints but you are comfortably sitting on the decks of the Titanic while the world is literally collapsing around your ears... Get some perspective and take a look at the bigger picture. 

    • Hi Klemens - the statistical facts of what has unfolded on the economic front in the US are correct, as Maslow would attest they tell a story of escalating primary needs anxiety for tens of millions of Americans, all of which was systematically denied and heightened, particularly by the Republican right, but also the centrist Democrats. That has been the great betrayal of the social contract this past 30 years and it was of the lower and middle classes and afflicted all lower income and middle income people across all racial groups, gender types, sexual orientations etc who did not possess the key social unit of day to day liberation/participation in society - money = secure income via humane secure work.

      The point is, the US has long been blind to/avoided / repressed a true debate about hyper capitalism. We are all talking about the shadow side of capitalism to some extent here and your post - those stark figures - demonstrate both the extent of the unwillingness of the middle classes and elites to examine this shadow, indeed to feed it. We in the international depth psychology alliance/ community cannot afford to NOT examine this shadow side to the prevalent economic system. We need now, more than ever, a psychology, a depth psychology that examines this link.

      Wilhelm Reich began the process among psychologists in the Mass Psychology of Fascism and Listen Little Man, Fromm broadened the possibilities with his examination of the Social Unconscious and the key character types of whole societies. Marcuse had much to say on the link in Eros and Civilisation and other books. But the facts are that we, like the rest of Western society, have not paid enough attention to how economic betrayal by elites distorts the psyches of oppressor and oppressed alike and thus feeds the projected scapegoating/ aggression impulses against vulnerable folk further down the chain that the likes of Hitler, Trump, Pol Pot, etc mobilised. What is needed now is the courage to oppose those higher up the chain who perpetrated the oppression in the first place and change the institutions that are feeding the Extreme Capitalist input to the collective shadow.

      RE Trump, he has always been higher up the economic chain (fact), a member of the Extreme Capitalist elite, so I have little faith that his hackneyed 'reality TV' techniques and postured concern for the economically disenfranchised millions is anything but narcissistic opportunism. I may be wrong, he may be the trickster type who quickly lessens the incendiary racist, sexist, etc rhetoric now and sets about changing the economic institutions that are feeding the rage and drift to an aesthetics of violence (as theorists on fascism have called the strange nighmarish possessions that occur in fascist societies beholden to a protective strong man father figure). We shall see - his victory speech, interstingly, was all about creating jobs and nothing about feeding the projections further. But cutting taxes to the rich has been the ultimate Neolib strategy worldwide, so my guess is he is all set to feed the American shadow by feeding the extrema capitalist inputs to it. Also there has been no real political change in the other two governing branches - Senate and House. There it is hypercapitalist business as usual - no change at all. I suspect this will also feed the above Shadow. Anyway, thankyou for your statistics/facts - many ordinary people are experiencing great depression level suffering but this time it has not even been acknowledged by the mass media or leftist elites. We need to process these stats and produce progressive, humane solutions solutions for the America that currently exists not the neoromantic dream America of some idealised past (another technique of fascists is to construct an idealised past). kind regards Ian 

  • Dear Bonnie and all who have participated in this discussion. I am a white middle aged male living in Australia and I have been devasted by Trump's ascendance to the position of the most powerful person on earth - the person with the power to launch nuclear strikes that could end all life on this planet. His path to the presidancy was at every point that of the archetypal tyrant-demagogue channelling the frustrations/hurts of tens of millions of disaffected people into racial, mysoginist, etc scapegoating projections directed at, in many cases, vulnerable minorities. Let's not hide from the facts, he intuitively or deliberately harnessed/directed the energies that had built up around the Id/ Shadow structures in the  'social unconscious' (Fromm's concept doesn't necessarily exclude archetypes, by the way) of people in many US states to attain personal power. This is an unparalled disaster on many levels - not least for the psychosocial fabric of the US. I grieve with those who truly understand what may be lost and what may unfold over the next 4 years - and my own country may not be immune to these antihuman developments. And this is not, in anyway, to suggest that Clinton and the Democrats would have actually addressed the real sources feeding America's collective shadow - despite holding to more antioppressive values generally.

    The beliefs behind the French Revolution, the British invention of parliamentary democracy and the US Bill of Rights and Constitution have been models for relatively humane government progress (a commitment to a democratic idea of the 'social contract' - the rights of individuals finely balanced with the needs of the state) that many countries have adopted in the face of the transformative energies of Modernity. From my perspective Neoliberal hypercapitalist excesses in particular have undermined these three great nations since the mid 1980s leaving millions angry, unrepresented, unprotected, desperate, hurting. After the Berlin wall came down the most vulnerable in the US and other Western countries were repeatedly betrayed at the fundamental needs level (yes Maslow's hierarchy of needs remains relevant as does Marx's insight that economic disadvantage  causes all kinds of social maladies) associated with income/economics/jobs security. Corporate America tilted the social contract its way massively and governments of all descriptions let them. The GFC was the final humiliation, given even the leftist elites (with some major exceptions, eg Hedges, Moore, Sanders and Pickerty) did not provide a truthful narrative - let alone any kind of real corrective action - to describe to ordinary people the systemic sources of the traumas they were experiencing ... yes at the hands of the likes of Trump, Goldman-Sachs etc. The alt right and Trump - the demagogues - stepped into the 'narrative making' vacuum,  providing the kind of mystagogic patriotic white supremicist narrative (laced with the classic neofascist 'aesthetic of violence/projected frustration', anti-intellectualism and cultish 'trust in us, 'we'll fix everything') that Hitler gave the economically aggrieved in Germany in the 20s and 30s.

    The situation is ALMOST as bad now as it was before Hitler moved on Germany'' democratic institutions, and like the psychoanalytic movement in Europe during the 1930s, the depth psychologists of our time may soon be called upon to make decisions that involve either critiquing an increasingly nondemocratic, bullying authoritarian regime, leaving the country or their chosen discipline (due to persecution for daring to critique in the new climate of censorship and anti-intellectualism that Trump promises) or becoming complicit with the regime. 

    The greatness of the US was founded on the values and institutions associated with modified ancient Greek notions of democracy. If Trump and the Republican majorities in both houses move forward with smashing Obamacare, removing the food stamp assistance for tens of millions, reducing taxes further for the rich (accelerating the wealth transfer upwards to grotesque levels) and enabling further the racism/homophobia/mysoginism etc of their followers, the US will become a fully-fledged fascist nation (with nukes!!) - the essence of the social contract that founded the US will have been smashed. That way lies mass trauma on an unimaginable scale, which, following the trope of all fascist states, will be exported internationally through wars ( kinda what Putin is doing right now). Trauma is the stuff we depth psychologists try to mitigate in the community daily - and a great deal of it may be coming our way if someone doesn't reign Trump in. 

    This is a time for clear thinking, this is a time for speaking up, this is a time for resolute, peaceful resistance and civil disobedience, this is also a time for reaching out to the millions of working class Americans who hope Trump will fix their economic situation, have real grievances ( beneath the unsavoury projections) but are not truly rusted on YET to the Trump mystico-hocus pocus. Many of these people may still be swayed away from outright fascism IF their economic grievances and insecurities can be addressed.

    I wish all of our American brothers and sisters well - history has been moving fast for you these past few days, the foundations of your nation are turning to quick sand, and it is understandable that you might feel somewhat powerless in the face of these vast systemic forces that have almost mutated beyond the bounds of a civillised resolution ... but not quite yet ... America's major cities are not as enamoured with Trump and the Alt Right protofascists as the German cities of the 30s were with Hitler. These will be the sites of hopefully peaceful and effective resistance, especially if he starts trying to split up families via mass deportations. The resistance, however, needs to take place before he peoples the institutions of policing, the law, the military and government bureacracies with his sympathisers/idealogues (you have, I estimate a couple of years depending how cosy the Republicans get with him).

    I know that what I've written above may not provide a great deal of comfort. I apologise for this, my own healing usually involves facing the truth, however stark, on as many levels as possible. Those who feel devasted by recent events may also be feeling overwhelmed by visions of possible future realities that look nightmarish - indeed I was woken from such nightmares last night with the sudden realisatiin that all the values underpinning The Enlightenment are being trashed by Trump, Farage, Le Penn and in Australia, if she gets her way, Pauline Hanson and other far/Alt rightists. Under such circumstances transpersonal assistance may be needed ... but for the moment I'd like to see artists, teachers, psychologists, activists, etc. use that realm to impel effective community/collective action and to strengthen and embolden us as wd embark upon peaceful forms of resistance. We do not need solace yet, we need inspiration ... something to strengthen the will as it chooses love over hate and bigotry, as it chooses to oppose hate and bigotry publicly by standing alongside those the oppressor will surely target/ come for as has been the case in many countries across the world.

    Finally, I have written a bit in the past, on the relationship of the trickster archetype (Hermes/Mercury/Loki) to postmodernity - labelling the past 20 years the period of the Postmdern Hermesian Transition. Trump strikes me as a cross between the Loci/Mercurius/evil genie figure and the authoritarian Father/King/strongman the Germans turned to in Hitler. If the trickster - communicator, reconciler of opposites, sexual sleeze, thief-businessman type - is primary (Hermes/Mercury) in his psyche, there is, paradoxically, some hope for America (and humanity). THis is the ''atalyst for change' reading of Trump's ascendancy. If, however, it is the mad narcisstic, Authoritarian tyrant we get, WITH some assistance via communication skills, charisma, etc from Loki - who represents impulsiveness, charm, resentment and score settling - elements in his psyche - the US is in a great deal of trouble. He seems to me, to vaccilate between these archetypes almost on a daily basis - suggesting a deep conflict between the two elements ... this in itself does not augur well for the future. Which archetype  will turn up on any given day? Where is there any stable part of his psyche capable of making measured rational decisions backed up by deep research and empathy for all life forms? 

    Kind Regards, Ian Irvine (Hobson) of the Zoetics institute 


    Dear Bonnie,

    I hear you!

    Many, on individual levels, are hanging in there for clear directions. As does the collective...

    The tension and anxiety levels are at their utmost, since many years now...I totally agree to what has been shared about Clarissa Pinkola-Estès earlier on...It is in these times that we have to be not only fierce but true to our core selves. Right now, up in the skies, all planets are being "re-shuffled" and rough edges are constantly in shock so as Regulus, the dwarf planet, can get to shine its pristine light...

    Hereunder, is an overview of Jose's insights and appeal to us of not giving in to fear, particularly in these times...

    Hope this helps...

    In & With Gratitude,

  • Carl Jung wrote extensively concerning the extraordinary peril for the earth which is created when powerful figures identify with a numinous Self archetype (imago Dei) from the finite and limited perspective of ego-consciousness. He referred to Hitler in Nazi Germany and Stalin in Soviet Russia as paradigmatic examples of leaders who succumbed to such inflation and became responsible for the mass-murder of millions of people, before the advent of nuclear weapons. In my recent book "The Individuation of God: Integrating Science and Religion" (Chiron Publications, 2012) I explored further examples including Chairman Mao in communist China, atheist materialists who nevertheless were venerated and virtually deified by their collective people.

    In a paper which was published in Teilhard Studies (2013: 66) (link: ) at the invitation of Dr John Grim of the Yale University Divinity School, I wrote that humanity not only participates in a numinous dimension but also in co-creative divinisation by directing the future evolution of the biosphere and noosphere. The noosphere is the membrane of consciousness superimposed upon the biosphere and integral to a holistic vision, itself mystical of the interconnectedness and sacredness of all beings in an ecosystem which embraces all forms of life. Humankind is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself.The world came perilously close to a thermonuclear exchange during the Cuban missile crisis in 1963. However President Kennedy was both sane and a visionary and had not identified his ego with the numinous Self or Hero archetypes.

    I think that the world is in clear and present danger with president elect Donald Trump precisely because in his malignant narcissism, he has identified with a negative messiah or Savior archetype while exhibiting a capacity for narcissistic rage and vindictive destructiveness. Trump would wish to create the world in his own image introducing a new world order as did Hitler.  He has access to the nuclear codes which if activated have the potential to destroy the earth and bring our species to the edge of extinction. I am a survivor of an  NDE and I hope that humankind will act collectively to co-creatively complete the vision of Jung and Teilhard of an evolution which culminates in an Omega point or divine focus of mind. Perhaps the Electoral College could intervene to prevent Trump from becoming the most powerful man on our planet.I presented another paper, "The Entangled State of God and Humanity" to the C.G. Jung Society of Melbourne on May 21. 2016. Link:   

    • Thank you, Peter, this is brilliant and quite helpful, actually.  This event brings to the individual yet more responsibility which seems at this moment in my process as an intuitive-feeling type, almost impossible.  One cannot help but feel the overpowering sadness of the broken thread of which Jung often referred.  This is our humanity.  I am grieving.

      All these posts have been educational and supportive and for that I am grateful.


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