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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  • Education Institution

    As this particular discussion thread--and perhaps many of them around the Internet—start to wain as the initial reality of the election results begins to sink in, I'd like to draw your attention to an important and thought-provoking post on what we should be doing—written by Jungian analyst, climate scientist, Depth Psychology Alliance board member, Jeffrey T. Kiehl. 

    Looking for Ceaser begins with the quote from Jung...

    “If we are stumbling into an era of dictators, Caesars, and incarnated States, we have accomplished a cycle of two thousand years and the serpent has again met with its own tail. Then our era will be a near replica of the first centuries A.D., when Caesar was the State and a god, and divine sacrifices were made to Caesar while the temples of the gods crumbled away. You know that thousands in those days turned their eyes away from this visible world, filled with horror and disgust, and adopted a philosophy which healed their souls.”--C.G. Jung CW (18, par. 1342)....


    "Looking for Caesar" by Jeffrey T. Kiehl
    Excerpt from a powerful new post by Jungian analyst and climate scientist, Jeffrey T. Kiehl: “If we are stumbling into an era of dictators, Caesars,…
  • HI Bonnie, It has now been three weeks since the elections. My Mother was born in Riverton, Utah just outside Salt Lake City, Utah 1931. She and her relative were mostly " Jack Mormons" and general trouble makers. Politics were very important to them since they had no voice in an ultra conservative landscape. My Grandfather identified himself as a Norman Thomas Socialist and loved Al Smith and FDR. One of his neighbors on a ranch nearby in Oregon was Governor Tom McCall. He often argued politics with neighbors, family and friends. It was a way of showing you cared and having someone to talk to. Sometime he went weeks without speaking to another person besides my Grandmother. This was hard on him as he was (like me) a bit of an extrovert. I was reminded this month of great Western Statesmen like Wayne Morse ( Lion in the Senate), Frank and Bethine Church, Thomas Metcalfe  "Stonehammer". I tend to remember these men and women in  times such as these with so much transiency and fluff. In the  Kim Hemanson exercise I saw a Lion.   

    He is like a man
    In the body of a violent beast.
    Its muscles are his own . . .
    The lion sleeps in the sun.
    Its nose is on its paws.
    It can kill a man.
    Occasionally this Lion does a little hunting ( but mostly leave this to the Females). He will fight to protect his family at times. And is skilled in doing so. But mostly he looks out on the great plains ( American savannah ) and takes in his family and land beneath his feet.   Fan tan alley cats, Drug Store Cowboys, inflated pop stars , etc, etc will come and go but substance remains ( like the 1969 and 2016 Chicago Cubs) Thanks for your efforts to create this forum...All the best....Jeff


  • Organization

    Displacement of Affect
    The reaction to the candidates in the recent American election is puzzling. The spigot of intense dissatisfaction and vilification was opened up full throttle on the human all too human need for change drain the swamp candidate. Yet the obviously corrupt pay for play candidate who amassed tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars personally and about one billion more for her campaign received an almost free ride for that from the mainstream media and the majority of the voters who cast their ballots for her. One would have expected a different reaction from the American electorate. A powerful rejection of corruption and a vote for the rule of law. One similar to the one being expressed in South Korea today. Here is how the public is supposed to respond to flagrant demonstrations of political corruption.

    Whether it be a society, a nation or a civilization they are all founded on the rule of law. The alternative is chaos. So where is Americas outrage. Why has it been ignored and misdirected elsewhere. There obviously has been a displacement of affect in this regard.  

    Jung worded the need for the rule of law somewhat differently. He said words to the effect that the human weeds would outgrow and overrun the rest of humanity unless they were kept in check....

    - YouTube
    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
    • It's hard to discuss your points, klemens, without looking at specific instances.  As for Trump being "vilified" - I think he's quite happy as long as he's in the news, and probably never seriously considered he might actually become president when he first announced.

      Yes, he presented himself as the 'law and order' and 'drain the swamp' candidate. If he actually makes a serious effort to get big money out of politics, then I'll believe he cares about corruption. 

    • I agree...huge reactions, inability for common folk to self-regulate and lots of projected anger, denial and scapegoat phenomena going on...just noticing news this past 2 days announcing the 7 million raised to re-count votes in the "swing" USA states and the death of Fidel Castro with mixed news casts from dancing in the streets, 9 days set aside in Cuba for morning signing an on-going oath to the revolution...and the difference between opinions of world leaders ranging from death of the tyrant = hope for democracy to sadness over the loss of a friend!

  • Sharing a collection of election-oriented posts offered by Pacifica Graduate Institute for the conversation here:

    Browse a collection of depth psychology-oriented election blogposts aggregated by Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association, including posts from Michael Meade, Susan Rowland, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Francis Weller, more.

    Read a post-election note from Dr. Stephen Aizenstat, Chancellor an..., along with reflections from others in the community on Pacifica Post

  • Hi Skye - also Paul...I have not had time to digest your article Paul, hence your feedback Skye to even get to a place where I may have something to offer...time will tell...I'll continue digesting.  Peace + Love Linda

  • Picking up where I left off...I think each of us has a different understanding of what is most basic. To me, what is most basic is that we, as individuals, constitute parts of humanity. As Neumann noted, we are parts of a self-organizing organism. Today, we in the United States are being drawn into an alternative dream space where remaining remnants of original repression are relinquishing their hold on the collective psyche in this moment of global psychic reckoning. (Thank you, Pamela, for aptly naming it the reckoning.)

    Depth psychologists have long been midwives and obstetricians of the emerging consciousness of oneness in the context of the individual psyche. A major element of individuation is the recognition that one is an integral, though separate, part of a greater whole. A major aspect of healing comes about through integration of the consciousness of wholeness. The collective psyche (the greater whole to which we all belong) is observed to be self-regulating. The nexus of self-regulation, or self-organization, is the Self archetype. 

    The trust I am talking about is closely akin to the First Nation concept of honor. Today, many people believe that humanity has gone wrong in creating the world; our ancestors made wrong-headed decisions which resulted in the disastrous circumstances that we find ourselves in today. To me, this is deficit model thinking, which promulgates a self-defeatist attitude in humanity. For me, a bottom line is trusting the instincts that have brought humanity to this place in human evolution.

    I am tired and my thoughts are growing muddled. This may be my final post, as next week is Thanksgiving and after that I have a number of writing deadlines. It has certainly been a pleasure to exchange ideas, and thank you for including me in the circle.



  • Dr. Jeremy Taylor, known by many for his timeless book on dreams, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, has written a recent article on the heels of the American election, 2016, and has offered it to the Depth Psychology Alliance community. Jeremy is co-founder and Past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD).
    The Shadow in America Right Reverend Dr. Jeremy Taylor
    Dr. Jeremy Taylor, known by many for his timeless book on dreams, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, has written a recent article on the heels o…
    • Bonnie, thank you for posting the piece by Jeremy Taylor. I appreciate his insight that the "hidden content" of the activated shadow archetype unleashes creativity, as well as his encouraging observation that the ascendency of Trump is "granting historical permission" to find passion. However, in my experience (both personal and with clients), the shadow hides in the intricacies of its disillusionment what one wishes to be; it is not entirely "the thing a person has no wish to be". Further, I take issue with Jeremy's implication that art-making is haphazard. In artistic creations, as in scientific theories, when the created form is conjunct, or in syzygy, with the content the form serves to reveal, there is a strong sense of inevitability. In science, the sense of inevitability is often referred to as elegance. In the arts, it is sensed as beauty. For instance, in performing arts, it is the sense that one has witnessed or experienced something beautiful and magical, even when the content is horrible (such as the opera Dead Man Walking). 

      Thank you, Bonnie, also for posting the link to proceedings of the October Conference on the Psychology of the 2016 Election. If there is interest, I would be happy to contribute to a thorough literature review regarding the social applications of depth psychology, as part of a team.

      Paul, thank you for your article, which I found difficult to read because of the complexity of your language. I hope I understand what you are saying well enough to respond without missing the point. For me, your main points (please correct me if I'm wrong) are: 1) to ensure the survival of the species, it is utterly vital "to understand the forces at play" and to understand how the urge to dominate "can be domesticated. (I agree it is necessary for the ego to surrender.) 2) Focusing on rebuilding trust has "low probability" of a successful outcome because trust is "tribal constrained" and instinct-based, and intense personal work is required to release such instincts. Further, it is unrealistic to hope that empathy with other races can be attained. 3) Political systems generally face reality only "after all rectification options are exhausted". 4) The increasing competition for material resources is "unabashedly Machiavellian" and is activating an escalating "class war". (In Jungian terms, are you saying humanity is in the "clutch of Physis"?) 5) Ordinary folk are so ignorant and out of touch with what is happening they "will never even figure out the con and will happily sail towards the waterfall in their lemming rafts". 6) Society's "failure to imagine anything outside the current roller coaster of materialist obsessions is the fault of artists and poets".

      Certainly, you have laid out the difficulties of our task. I must pause now, to focus on other work, but I will return to this thread later today. 

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