Education Institution

Hi everyone. I want to thank Bonnie Bright for the invitation to participate in this online book Club, and hope that I can follow in the footsteps of last months author, Dr. Eril Shallit, to provide what I hope is a meaningful discussion about the underpinnings of my book, Field, Form and Fate and to continue the explorations into the domain of psyche and spirit.

    The idea for this book began back in 1996 when my interests into the confluence of matter and psyche began to take shape-   In addition to C.G. Jung’s ongoing work into the workings of psyche and Self, it was the world of the New Sciences of Emergence, which provided the necessary next step in this work.   Ervin Lazlo, considered by many as the worlds foremost systems theorist was presenting in our annual conference in Assisi, Italy when he made the following comment in response to questions about archetype and form, when he said,  “Field precedes Form”.  As discussed in the radio interview with Bonnie Bright, I suddenly had the theoretical, archetypal and mystical backdrop I had been missing.  Be it the emergence of symbols in dreams, or the espression of behavior in life and relationship, each appears as an expression of the field from which it was generated. It was, as Lazlo said, the archetypal field that is omnipresent, and from this matter and experiences emerge.   Then when looking further into the workings of fields, I found not only biological but archetypal validation for the reality of innate,  pre-formed, and it was the constellation of these  which  generated the  form and dynamics  which filled individual and collective expression.

This book represents  my research and discoveries into the nature of fields and  a discussion of how it is that these non-material fields,  express their dynamics within the material domain-  Such are the ways of psyche and the ways of the psychoidal.

Now more than thirteen years after the publication of that book, I remain deeply interested in the workings of these fields, and how it is that  an understanding of the patterns established from these can move the individual into  a meaningful relationship with life and the archetype and so too into a relationship with those non generative archetypal dynamics.

I hope that you find this work of interest and that  you will take time to read the first  70 or so pages in this book within the next  two weeks, and I will respond to the general themes emerging from these. Please feel free to post any questions or comments you may have in the meantime.

Very much looking forward to  meeting each and every one of you through this on line forum.



  Michael Conforti 

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  • I personally believe it would be a terrible mistake to "sciencecify" archetypes too drastically. Consider Bayesian Quantum Mechanics where priors matter to the outcome experienced. Science with determinism and reductionism along with classification and measurement already starts directing some of the results by having a metaphysical, archetypical view of how they should "work".  You can't impose an archetype on an archetype and expect it not to have any consequences.

    I don't see much harm in exploring how archetypes might physically come into being, but I think when you look solely to physical explanations you miss out on the "psychic stuff" that they are made of. One way of looking at the universe is as though it is entirely physical, and yet another is looking at it is that it is all mental. The likely best way of looking at it is that it is whatever it is at any given moment--but to adopt this way of looking means dropping notions and divides such as physical or mental.

    • Joe Bill, Michael, and Kay

      Thank you for responding.  I wholeheartedly agree that trying to over-catalogue complexes, archetypes, and fields is not something to be desired, as it would be reductive.    So the question for me becomes:  What does "knowledge" in this field look like? 

      From Michael's book at the bottom of page 129 we have:   "As we gain a deeper appreciation and ability to recognize these patterns, our next task is to create a classification of archetypal fields and develop the capacity to recognize the clustering of events, configurations, and phenomena unique to each archetype." 


      P.S. As for considering "Bayesian Quantum Mechanics,"  I think I'd rather not!  :-)  :-)  :-)

    • For me personally, "knowledge" in this field shows up when I pick an archetype to align with which would aid the collapse of matter and psyche into a singularity (as Michael puts it).  The only archetype that I have found that  does this as far as I can tell , in my own experience,  through my alignment with it,  is Mother -- and after the collapse is this balance  of Mother, Father, Child -- thanks to God knows what (I'm not going to even try to figure it out).  All I can really guess is that Mother (the archetype and reality) will always keep the relational field alive. So as far as I can tell so far, the term "singularity"  is a bit confusing (but appropriate)  because there is an  essential three-ness to it (not including myself -- the individual egoic man -- which would then make it a four-ness,  of course ! ... and it is a four-ness each time I , the egoic man,  choose to align and engage  with "the Mother" through the process of divine alchemy and imagination.

      But more to the point of what "knowledge" in this field (in this community) looks like  -- well ... I will point to Mother (the archetype , the field, the pattern, and the felt experience) again.  It looks like sharing information and ideas and care freely and fiercely and fearlessly, for the love of engagement and for the love of tending to the fire of community.  Just as it is happening here, through the active engagement on this forum.  I'm very  happy to be have found such an online  community as this which has interest in doing just this -- from the depth psychology perspective.  I'm relatively new to depth psychology and so this is a great opportunity to learn a lot and to find inspiration. So thank you Michael ... and thank you Bonnie for making this happen (along with all the other participants here ... thank you to you too. )

    • Chris, I admire you're way of describing how you engage an archetype.  I wanted to share the following taken from the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS).

      Ways of Naming the Archetype

      The contents of the collective unconscious…are known as archetypes (CW9(1):4).
      …we are dealing with archaic or--I would say—primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times (CW9(1):5).
      …archetypes probably represent typical situations in life (CW8:255).
      …qualities that are not individually acquired but are inherited…inborn forms of "intuition," namely the archetypes of perception and apprehension, which are the necessary a priori determinants of all psychic processes (CW8:270).
      It seems to me their origin can only be explained by assuming them to be deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity (CW7:109).


      I agree with Jung that they probably represent typical human situations.  From my pov if we can't take this knowledge into daily life, then it is nothing more than talking head academic inquiry. 

      Please don't misinterpret.  I love this forum!  I love studying with people like Michael.  I recently finished his Dream Patterning Certificate course and would recommend to anyone interested in the topic.  I'm still considering the Archetypal Patterning certificate and am returning to analysis.  All of this is in response to personal experience.

      As I've studied I've become more aware of archetypal patterns and fields, but I must confess that they tend to come upon me as opposed to my 'picking' one.  I suppose one could 'pick' one to study and to use the imagination to make alignment more easy.

      My personal experience (as mentioned in previous posts) is that in trying to make conscious the archetypal pattern, shadow work is necessary through looking at the inferior function, dreams, and the body. 

      As Michael points out in his book, Jung thought that matter and psyche are two different aspects of the same thing.   Over the years I've come to agree, personally and professionally. 

      Michael, if you can I would really appreciate comments on shadow work as a way to recognize archetypal patterns that come down through generations and not just with the individual. 

      Again, thanks Chris.  You sparked my thinking this sunday afternoon.  take care, nance 

    • Education Institution

      I fully agree that top make the workingss  with archetypes  an issue of science is a danger. So too to not develop an interest in whatever it is that claims our  attention to matterrs of soul is a danger.-  The issue is one of  viewing the world of psyche and the   dynamcis of emergence as the properties of the psychodial domain-  Here we find  confluence of matter and psyche collapsing into a singularity-to see matter and psyche as two faces of the same  essential spirit. In fact this is the very issue  Jung found  and was fascinated by in his fascination with alchemy.  it was this ongoing relationship between matter and psyche.

           Many of the pioneers it the new sciences  are fully  aware that psyche is, and will remain a great mystery.   However so too is the ocean and its depth now and will remain unfathomable.   But we still look to the depths to learn what we can and to see what we can of these mysteries, always  knowing, and always bowing to the grandness of the  ineffable, and to the wonders of  the worlds we call Self, Psyche and God.

  • Michael,

    I just finished reading your book.  An incredible experience!  I've been an amateur in this field for the past 20 years and only now (at 51) am I discovering the wonderful work done by you and your colleagues. 

    I'll have more questions in the next day or two as I "metabolize" your main points, but for now I would like to inquire:  Since this book was written (1999) how much advancement has taken place in the field of identification and classification of archetypal fields, and patterns?   As a burgeoning science,  a classification scheme or hierarchical typology (analogous to Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species for biology) for archetypal fields would seem to be one of the first necessary tasks as well as methods and injunctions for identifying them.

    Thank you again for being available to us!

    Joseph Camosy

    • Education Institution

      Dear Joseph,

        Thank you for taking time to respond to this group, and I sincerely appreciate your  warm and supportive comments of my work. 

        The  question about  classification is a thorny one-     Many are offended whenever there is an attempt to  say we can ever understand anything about the archetype.     While there is a danger in over speculation, etc,  Jung;'s  more than  50 years of  working with the Self and  the archetypes of the collective unconscious taught us to follow the thread you suggest- that is to  first off admit that the archetype exists in a domain far beyond that of  conscious  understanding-   perhaps within the  world of the psychodial-    however   if  we look at the nature of his work and that of the  early Jungians- M.L. Von Franz, Ester Harding,  Barbara Hannah, etc,  they all  strove to understand something about the inherent nature of these archetypal dynamics.- and---were able to do so as a result of the stabilization of form within these pre-figured fields.   So  perhaps a  more suitable term that  pattern classification is the word I have been using for more than twenty years-   "Archetypal Pattern Analysis"  In fact this is the work  of our Two Year Training Program, where students look at the patterns, and expressions of these universal  motifs and patterns,

        So clearly I agree with the direction of your thinking and look forward to hearing about your ongoing work in this area,


    • Michael,

      Thank you for responding to my question! 

      I am familiar with Von Franz's book "Archetypal Patterns in Fairy Tales."   Regarding her approach to amplifying motifs:

      • A story is only really properly interpreted if you circumambulate it as much as possible with all your functions.  You must consider the structure.  You  must consider how it affects you from the feeling standpoint - whether it is an agreeable or disagreeable story, or whether it conveys something redeeming to you our leaves a sort of uncanny malaise.  And then, of course you must consider all scientific interpretations: fact, fact first, and facts again!  You have to stick to the text and not put your subjective fantasy into it.  (Page 13)

      If my understanding is correct, this quote from Von Franz is similar to your "orientational" approach to an image.

      I do have some thoughts regarding an approach to archetypal fields, but wanted to begin by attempting a summary of my understanding of your book "Field, Form, and Fate," to make sure I'm on the same page with you.

      Summary of the first five chapters - some basic takeaways:

      • Archetypal fields prefigure the emergence of matter, and these fields can be deduced from observation.

        The phenomenon of archetypal influence can be modeled analogous to a non-local “field” because in “no other domain in the natural world do we see the rearrangement of matter occurring in response to some seemingly hidden influence.”  (Pg 21)

      • An archetypal field is an “a priori” given which precedes the emergence of form.

      • The complex (a charged image) acts as an attractor to cause the archetypal field to manifest in a specific region.  Also, the repetition compulsion is  evidence of an archetypal field which is manifesting in matter – is being acted out, and can be represented as an “image” which is representative of the specific field (likely in its repeating non-generative form).

      • In order to discover this pattern/field one must somehow connect the images, characters, incidents, settings, plot, synchronicities, events and contexts to a central theme.

      • Subjective, personal approaches to images and experiences can be relativistic and ego based, overlooking "those nonpersonal, transpersonal, archetypal factors that orient and guide much of life”.   Instead,  by looking at the objective context of the situation (called the "Orient"), one can determine what the “a priori” field might be  (ie. absent father field, orphan field, Puer-Puella Aeternus, etc…).
      • The consonance/dissonance between the client’s subjective response and the situation/image’s objective orient is revealing of the client’s alignment to the field.

      • Because of the properties of a steady-state system (stabilization of form), the initial interview often repeals the properties of the archetypal pattern.   Also, “the therapeutic situation serves as a stable attractor site, drawing to it material that resonates with the core of the constellated archetype.

      • The discernment of the archetypal field of a steady state system is analogous to the mathematical algorithm known as the Fourier Transform (which translates a phenomenon from the time domain to the frequency domain).

      • Regarding the possibility of change, the client can be made aware of their predominant archetypal field, and discover its generative properties and align with that, thus freeing them from possession of the field and pointing towards the field’s telos or destiny factor for the client.

      I'll follow up tomorrow with a concluding summary, some questions and some ideas I have on the archetypes. 

      Joe Camosy

    • Michael,

      I apologize for taking so long to follow-up here. I've finished my second read of the book and wanted to offer my takeaways on the second half of the book, but I see that the month is almost up. There's a lot of material in this wonderful book - one month isn't enough time to process it all!

      To Bonnie & Michael:  

      Is this discussion still active or does it cease to be "tended" at the end of the month?

      Is it possible to continue to discuss this topic with Michael?  Should I start a new discussion topic in another part of the forum or continue here?


  • Education Institution

      Just returned from  four days of lecturing in Rome.  There is great interest in Italy  in these issues of archetypal fields and the objective nature of psyche and images.   So now  I need a day of rest  and  will then will jump into these  discussions and questions.      I will say that the caliber of questions is  excellent and do hope that we can continue looking at the issue of the generation of form-which is the central theme in this book.  

     When we look at an archetype or an archetypal contellation,  say the Puer or Puella, or the Great or Negative mother or father, we are looking at a field of influence and meaning contaning certain  stable, highly regular  aspects to  it-  These are pattterns, as are the patterns we find in fairy tales, Hasidic and Biblical stories and the c making of all great literature and movies.  There is a sense of wonder and awe we look at these  patterns which have been with us from the beginning of time, and exist as  innate, a-priori eternal motifs-    as the archetypes within the collective unconscious.

       Jung was onto this and  so taken by the discoveries of these universals, that he dedicated mroe than 50 years of his life looking into these images and expressions of psyche.

        In many ways, this work is a sort of archetypal ethology-  a  study of those  universal tendencies.  Human creativity is a workign with the elements of the world,  like a great chef who goes to the market to buy all these  wonderful  ingredients,  and then who goes into the kitchen to make a meal which reflects the  individual creativity of the  individual their culture, and all that makes this person who they are. 

          Looking forward to getting some rest  so that  I can engage  the wonderful questions emerging  in this discussion group,

      Michael Conforti 

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