James R. Newell's Posts (13)

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Jung, Christianity, and the

Evolution of the Western God-Image


According to C. G. Jung, symbols emerging from the dreams and fantasies of his patients indicated that the Western God-image – the imago dei – was evolving in a way that contemporary Christian institutions could no longer contain and mediate. Jung felt that, if Western culture is to survive, we must engage these emerging symbols so that they may once again help us to mediate the dynamic, instinctual energies of the psyche in life-affirming ways. If we fail to do this, we run the risk of becoming possessed and driven by these unconscious instincts in chaotic and destructive ways.

Often, people fail to recognize the effect of the human psyche on culture. One reason for this is the difficulty of fully grasping the scope of Jung’s vision, which must include an appreciation of the role of mythology in his work, and of the function of mythology in human culture. According to Jung, mythology provides healing and balancing energies from the deep unconscious psyche. It provides access to these energies both for individuals, and for culture at large through its mediating function. For Jung, all religions are essentially mythological systems, and the over-riding mythological system that has dominated Western culture for centuries is the Christian myth.

Without these essential insights, it is impossible to understand Jung’s constant preoccupation with the artifacts of Christianity, especially during the last twenty years of his life. For Jung, Christianity was and is a mythological system which had long since ceased to provide its adherents access to the healing and balancing energies of the deep psyche. He saw this in the clients who populated his consulting room on a daily basis. Day after day, he saw people who were psychologically adrift, people who were alienated from, and had no connection to, their own instinctual energies.

With these concerns in mind, Jung initiated a detailed social history of Christianity in the same way he might embark on a study of an individual client’s social history when they began consulting with him. He paid particular attention to those Western cultural artifacts which had been explicitly repressed by Christian institutions, including but not limited to Gnosticism, astrology, alchemy, magic, and essentially all ‘pagan’ mythologies. Beginning with studies of Gnosticism, and culminating in his remarkable small book ‘Answer to Job’, Jung documents what he came to understand as the emergence of an evolving imago dei – a new Western God-Image, something Joseph Campbell referred to as a new myth.

Join us on Saturday, October 10th for a free introductory class on Jung’s study of Christianity and how it informed his understanding of the emerging and evolving Western God-Image. Our journey will take us through a close examination of his basic psychotherapeutic methods, how he applied these methods to his study of Christian institutions, and how they informed his understanding of the healing symbols of astrology, alchemy, and a variety of Western mythologies.

This free class will also serve as an introduction to our upcoming eight-week, college-level course on Jung, Christianity, and the evolving Western God-Image, beginning on Saturday, October 17th.

Click here to register for the free class!


Click Here to Register for Jung and Christianity, 8-week course!

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9142473076?profile=originalRituals of Sacrifice: The Archetypal Roots of

Multi-Generational Trauma in the Americas, Part II

In our previous blog on the archetypal roots of multi-generational trauma in the Americas, we looked at how we might trace the roots of contemporary issues via a depth psychological lens. We examined the idea of there being links between early genocidal violence in North America and the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Nazi regime in Europe in the mid twentieth century. We also looked at the traumatic impact of such  violence on both victim and perpetrator.

In this installment, I’d like us to consider the connection between the ancient religious practice of human sacrifice and contemporary events of mass violence, including wars, mass gun violence, genocidal “ethnic cleansings,” and the barbarous treatment of the native peoples of the Americas by Europeans. To those unfamiliar with Jungian psychology, such a connection to religious sacrifice might seem bizarre. It might even seem so to those familiar with Jungian psychology. Even so, I think a case can be made for the idea that the archetypal pattern of religious sacrifice can be seen in cases of mass violence against human beings. These patterns, being archetypal, are unconscious to be sure, but they are discernible – and dangerous – nonetheless. 

As Jung himself observed, the fact that religious phenomena are experienced subjectively as numinous is itself evidence of archetypal phenomena. That sacrifice is at the core of both ancient and modern religion is indisputable. As historian of religion Jonathan Z. Smith has famously said, "Any explanation of sacrifice is, in fact, a theory of religion in miniature" (Smith, 1995). If we are willing to make the leap that both Jung and Smith are correct, then it should be easy to accept the idea that there is an archetypal pattern to be found at the heart of sacrificial practice in religion. This being the case, the classical Jungian is left with two key questions: 1. “What is the role of the archetype of sacrifice in the individuation process?”, and 2. “How do these archetypal patterns of sacrifice relate to behaviors of mass violence?”

9142473264?profile=originalScholars have long been baffled by practices of religious sacrifice, especially human sacrifice. However, when religion and religious practices are seen through the lens of Analytical psychology as symbolic methods of regulating archetypal energies, clarity begins to emerge. In his book Ego and Archetype, Edward Edinger (1973) describes how the grandiose (archetypal) energies of the psyche drive humans to vacillate between experiences of inflated self-importance and states of flattened affect resulting from a sense of alienation from these energies. It is no mere coincidence that the practice of sacrifice emerged simultaneously with the rise of sacral kingship during the early Bronze Age. Just as social and economic differentiation moved culture to develop into more and more complex social groups, the need for an organizing center – the king – also emerged. As the sacral king now served as carrier of the sacred energies of the archetypal Self of the group, the average ‘commoner’ now abdicated (i.e. sacrificed) responsibility for the care of their own archetypal energies to the care of the idealized figure of the priestly king. The practice of religious sacrifice developed as a symbolic representation of this need to regulate the now publicly free-floating grandiose archetypal energies. 9142474078?profile=original

The above is a simplified description of a process that evolved over thousands of years. I hope it will serve as a tentative answer to our first question, “What is the role of the archetype of sacrifice in the individuation process?” I also hope it will help to lead us towards an answer to our second question: “How do these archetypal patterns of sacrifice relate to behaviors of mass violence?” First, in regard to the process of individuation, as we move between the two poles of inflation and alienation from archetypal energies, we must learn to sacrifice our claims to godhood (inflation) and develop a working relationship with our own personal deity: i.e. the archetype of the Self. Through this recognition of our limitations we gain access, through our connection to the archetypal Self, to adequate life energies to help us achieve our own highest personal destinies. This is a healthy, conscious, life-affirming relationship, through the archetype of sacrifice, to the archetype of the Self.

9142474458?profile=originalBut what about our second question: “How do these archetypal patterns of sacrifice relate to behaviors of mass violence?” In the case of mass violence, we are dealing the opposite: an unhealthy, unconscious state in which the grandiose archetypal energies of the psyche have become so repressed and alienated from consciousness that they suddenly rise up from within, unbidden, to overwhelm and possess consciousness. Such unconscious energies can and do grip both groups and individuals with a compelling need to perform a sacrificial offering. Horrifying examples of this can be found not only in the archeological record of early Bronze-age and Mezo-American civilizations, but also in the 19th century Americas, as well as 20th century Europe, Africa, and Asia.

If this topic interests you, please join us for another community conversation on The Archetypal Roots of Multi-Generational Trauma in the Americas. We'll consider questions such as: How can we best address issues of cultural chaos from the perspective of depth psychology? How can those of us who feel that the perspectives of depth psychology can have a positive cultural influence begin to implement positive change in the world? Please join us on Saturday, September 8th at 1:00 PM PT for our FREE community event.

Join Alliance director James Newell and a panel of Alliance board members and others for a community conversation on multi-generational trauma.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

In the past we’ve held community discussions on such topics as racism, Islamophobia, and gun violence. On Saturday September 8, 2018 the Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting another live community discussion/webcast during which time listeners will participate with a panel of interested persons as we discuss Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Roots of Multi-Generational Trauma in the Americas: Part II. This current initiative will attempt to address the traumatic and ongoing decimation of the native peoples of the Americas from a depth psychology perspective. Please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this FREE event!

Click here to learn more about this initiative!

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Works Cited

Edinger, E. (1973). Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche. New York, NY: Penguin Publishing Group.

Smith, J. (1995). Sacrifice. In Smith, J.Z. et al. (eds), The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, p. 948, San Francisco: Harper Collins.


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The Archetypal Roots of Multi-Generational

Trauma in the Americas

In the face of cultural crisis, modern people tend to seek material, social, and political solutions. Depth psychology approaches cultural issues from a different perspective. Depth psychologists tend to look beneath the surface. On an individual level, we look for complexes, networks of ideas and emotions that may have been forgotten, or simply were too complicated to fully process at earlier stages of development. Yet the energy contained in these complexes will continue to act autonomously, upsetting our best laid plans, regardless of our conscious intentions. Often, the early formation of a complex involves an underlying trauma.

Not individuals alone, but cultures, too, can develop complexes (Kimbles, 2000). If, without entering into contemporary political or partisan debates, we were to look at the history of the current cultural chaos in North America, what might we identify as determining factors? What complexes might we find? People in Europe and Asia routinely live among the artifacts of cultures that are hundreds, sometimes thousands of years old. The settlers of North America rarely look back that far, and perhaps with good reason. Not so very long ago, the land in which we live was inhabited by people who had lived here for literally thousands of years. These were not simply nomadic tribal people, just passing through. Although that is the origin myth that the modern inhabitants of North America have been taught, the reality is much different. The first inhabitants of the Americas had developed their own agriculture –  independent of, and nearly simultaneous with, the agricultural centers of China, India, and the mid-East – as well as their own civilizations, towns, roads, and systems of trade.

9142465667?profile=originalThe Americas were not discovered, they were invaded (Jennings, 1975, Wright, 1992). This invasion was followed by colonization and involved an ongoing process of deliberately deceiving the native people, breaking treaties one after another, slaughtering whole villages, and finally corralling each tribal group into small sections of land that would not support the production of crops (Churchill, 2004; Stannard, 1992; Grenier, 2005). This system was so effective that it eventually inspired Adolf Hitler.

In an oft quoted passage, Pulitzer Prize winning historian John Toland (1976) writes: "Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the Wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination -- by starvation and uneven combat – of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity” (p. 702).

Why do I mention this in relation to contemporary chaos in North America? The origin myth that we have been taught is a false narrative. In the words of historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2014a):

"Origin narratives form the vital core of a people’s unifying identity and of the values that guide them. In the United States, the founding and development of the Anglo-American settler-state involves a narrative about Puritan settlers who had a covenant with God to take the land. That part of the origin story is supported and reinforced by the Columbus myth and the 'Doctrine of Discovery.'"

The Americas were not a virgin land, free for the taking. They were populated by literally millions of people whose civilizations and cultures, though quite different from European ways, were nonetheless sophisticated and highly developed. Our true origin myth has been, as historian Francis Jennings has said, “buried under an ideology” (p. v).  

9142465688?profile=originalSuch a deliberate attempt to rewrite our origins is important enough for the historian, but it is even more important for depth psychology. Instead of being a culture founded on freedom and high ideals, as we have long been taught, the truth is slowly emerging. This truth is that we are a culture built upon savagery – not the savagery of those whom we once called ‘savages’, but our own savagery (Churchill, 2004; Stannard, 1992; Grenier, 2005). We are a culture that has been built on greed, white supremacy, and slavery (Baptist, 2016; Dunbar-Ortiz, 2014b; Blackmon, 2009; Davis, 2008; Pearce, 1988). That these very traits should once again be emerging from our cultural shadow should be of no surprise to those with any understanding of depth psychology. They are revealing to us elements of the traumatic core of an autonomous cultural complex.   

9142467072?profile=originalMoreover, the atrocities that our antecedents visited upon the native peoples and Africans  whom they perceived to be either impediments to the achievement of their goals or a means to achieve them, carried with them trauma of horrific proportions. Although these traumas were no doubt more virulent for those upon whom they were visited, recent studies show that the perpetrators of violence and injustice are not unaffected by their actions. Researcher Rachel MacNair (2010; 2009; 2005) reports a form of post traumatic stress that she identifies as perpetrator-induced traumatic stress (PITS). In studies of combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those who had killed others or committed atrocities (as opposed to simply having viewed such acts) reported more, and more debilitating symptoms. More research needs to be done in this area, but the evidence remains clear that trauma impacts everyone associated with violence and other morally repugnant behaviors. In the context of our cultural history, it seems that, whether victim or perpetrator, we are all heir to a collective memory of trauma.

In keeping with the mission and vision of the Depth Psychology Alliance (DPA), we are continuing our practice of initiating discussions, conversations, and healing activities around key, non-political issues that appear to be active in the cultural unconscious of the people of the Americas. Our most recent initiative is an attempt to address the traumatic and ongoing decimation of the native peoples of the Americas from a depth psychology perspective. How can we best address such issues from the perspective of depth psychology? How can those of us who feel that the perspectives of depth psychology can have a positive cultural influence begin realize such ideas in a way that actually inspires positive change in the world? How do these historical events impact our current world? How can we respond to historical events in a constructive and healing way?

If these questions interest you, you may want to watch the video replay of our online community conversation on the topic of Multi Generational Trauma in the Americas.

Click here to watch a video replay of this event!

The Depth Psychology Alliance supports

The Native American Heritage Foundation

We hope you will, too!

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Works Cited

Baptist, E. (2016). The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.

Blackmon, D. (2009). Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. New York: Anchor.

Churchill, W. (2004). A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books.

Davis, D. (2008). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dunbar-Ortiz, R. (2014a). Jacobin. America’s Founding Myths. Retrieved from: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/americas-founding-myths/

Dunbar-Ortiz, R. (2014b). An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Grenier, J. (2005). The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607–1814. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Jennings, F. (1975). The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

Kimbles, S. (2000). The Cultural Complex and the Myth of Invisibility. In Singer, T. Ed. The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World. New York, NY: Routledge.

MacNair, R. (2010) Psychological reverberations for the killers: Preliminary historical evidence for perpetration-induced traumatic stress, Journal of Genocide Research, 3:2, 273-282.

MacNair, R. (2009) Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress in Combat Veterans, Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 8:1, 63-72.

MacNair, R. (2005). Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing. Bloomington, IN: Authors Choice.

Pearce, R. (1988). Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

Stannard, D. (1992). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Toland, J (1992). Adolf Hitler. New York: Anchor.

Wright, R. (1992). Stolen Continents: The Americas Through Indian Eyes since 1492. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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9142468897?profile=original Carl Jung’s body of work has set into motion a scientific revolution on the order of Copernicus. While many mainstream academic psychologists and mainstream intellectuals dismiss Jung and his work as regressive and unscientific, little by little his ideas have been seeping into major academic disciplines, although incognito. Many anthropologists (including the celebrated Levi-Strauss) have been influenced by and have capitalized on Jung’s ideas with not a single reference to him. Many of Jung’s ideas and methods, once considered heretical, are now employed by several major psychological schools – again, with no credit given to Jung. One key academic discipline most historically resistant to Jung’s ideas has been the field of folklore and mythology. In this field, again, slowly, his ideas are beginning to be integrated by some brave academic scholars.

Of course, Jung is not alone in scientific history in being ignored or dismissed by his peers. Many great minds have been ignored, dismissed, or otherwise disparaged despite the revolutionary brilliance of their ideas. What great idea is the herald of Carl Jung’s alleged scientific revolution? The claim that the ego is not the center of the psyche. Rather, Jung (1959) contends, an unconscious ordering principle that he calls the ‘archetype of the Self’ is the object around which the healthy ego revolves. This is the new paradigm that Jung’s work is slowly bringing to birth in contemporary culture.

In his classic study The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, historian and philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn (1970), popularized the idea of scientific paradigms. According to Kuhn, the idea of a scientific paradigm
9142470062?profile=originalsuggests specific examples of scientific practice that “…provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research” (p. 10). An example that Kuhn uses is that of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), who challenged the Ptolemaic paradigm of his day. The Ptolemaic paradigm saw the earth as the center of the universe, and asserted that the sun revolved around the earth. This was also the biblical paradigm (though Kuhn ignores this, since by definition the biblical paradigm is not scientific). Copernicus asserted that the earth revolved around the sun, and he was roundly criticized for this outrageous claim. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) later supported the Copernican heliocentric theory, and was tried and arrested by the Catholic church. Galileo spent nine years under house arrest (until his death) for supporting this heretical Copernican theory.

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What was Galileo’s crime? Aside from violating certain theological decrees, Galileo proposed to dispose of the geocentric (earth-centered) paradigm and replace it with the heliocentric (sun-centered) paradigm that today every school-child takes for granted. Carl Jung is guilty of a similar crime: claiming that the ego is not the center of a healthy personality. Jung asserts rather that a healthy personality features an ego which listens to, and is in touch with the organizing principle of the archetypal Self, by way of what Erich Neumann (1973) has called an ego-self axis (p. 59). Though these metaphoric ideas are today as widely rejected as Copernican ideas were in times past, I am confident this new paradigm will one day be as commonly accepted as Galileo’s is today.

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It would appear that what most academics find distasteful about Jung’s work is not so much the ideas themselves, but their implications. Jung’s ideas imply that there is not only value in what rises from the unconscious, but there are also clear implications for those scholarly disciplines which continue to remain unconscious of the affect of the unconscious psyche on their own academic work. Jung’s work also implies that so-called primitive humans, those historian of religion Mircea Eliade (1959) called homo-religiosus, were actually engaging in healthy, community strengthening activities when they prayed to their gods, danced and sang out ritual re-enactments of their tribal histories, and treated their mythological canons as their most valuable possessions. Moreover, Jung claims that these same types of activities are sadly lacking in the contemporary world and that this lack of connection to the mythic realm has led to enormous psychological distress.

Were the academic world at large to rightly understand and accept these novel claims of Jung, they, each and everyone, would be required to completely rethink the premises upon which their disciplines rest. For now they would have to accept and incorporate into their work the psychic fact that before they ever put pen to paper, or conduct a single experiment, their unconscious psyche is manipulating their activities in ways of which they are completely and blissfully unaware. All science is based upon assumptions, but just because a large group of people believe these assumptions to be true does not therefore mean that those assumptions align with objective reality.

Jung’s work encourages us to enter into this new paradigm with him. To enter as into a mythic realm what he called the reality of the psyche, without losing sight of the importance of our rational, discriminating consciousness. Jung's work allows us to enter the symbolic, mythic realm of the psyche and bring back lost parts of ourselves to examine them in the light of a healthy, discerning consciousness. The ultimate goal being to integrate these contents into consciousness and make their attendant creative energies available to us. This is a Copernican revolution that completely re-writes not only our understanding of psychology and the human psyche, but also our understandings of myth, religion, and culture. Jung's work invites us to learn a new, higher-order thinking style that integrates intuition, feeling, and sensation into a new, more comprehensive way of knowing ourselves, and our world.

Join us for an exploration of the scientific revolution of our day in the upcoming course Jung and Mythology. A free introductory class will be offered on Saturday, February 24th at 1pm PT. The following week on Saturday, March 3rd, at 1pm PT, we will begin the first module of the eight week, college level course, Jung and Mythology.

9142471465?profile=originalClick here for more information

Click here to register for the free introductory class.

Click here to register for the eight week course.

Eliade, M. (1959). The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. New York, NY: Harcourt, Inc.

Jung, C. (1959). Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kuhn, T. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Neumann, E. (1973). The Child. New York, NY: Harper.


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Islam and Peace

Islam and Peace


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"Even though you are of the earth in form, still, you are the fine
spiritual thread made of the very substance of Certainty.

You are the trusted guardian of the treasury of the Light of God.
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!

Know that when you have bound yourself to selflessness, you will
escape from attachment to self-ness [ego].

And then you will leap away from the bonds of a thousand traps.
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!
~~ Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (N.D.)

These words of the great Islamic Persian poet Rumi are but one of countless examples of the beauty that has sprung from Islamic culture. Unfortunately, we do not often hear Rumi’s words on the evening news, nor the words of Hafiz, Saadi, or other great Islamic poets. We hardly if ever hear of Sufis on the evening news at all, or of the countless Muslim mothers and fathers who worry over the well-being of their children, and of their own fates. We hear often of “Islamic” terrorists, but we seldom hear that by far most of those who die at the hands of terrorists are themselves Muslims. Nor do we hear about the countless threats that Islamophobia and bigotry visit upon innocent American Muslims every day.

I had planned to post a different, more intellectual blog this week, but the events in Orlando have given me pause. Once again, people who know essentially nothing of substance about Islam or Muslims take to the airwaves and are given a platform upon which to voice their ignorance. Meanwhile friends and families grieve, politicians argue, and the talking heads offer explanations.

It is certainly not my intention to idealize Islam or Muslims, anymore than I wish to idealize Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or the members of any other faith group. I do not wish to see any of them demonized, either. Given that I teach courses on Islam and other world religions, I have more background and ready information on a number of related topics than most. For this reason I'm making myself available to answer questions about Islam, Islamophobia, and related issues and for general discussion.

If you have questions about Islam, or would like to learn more, and are interested in an informed discussion of these topics, I hope you will join me on Saturday, June 18, 2015 at 1:00pm PDT (4:00pm EDT). I will be hosting a free, live community conversation/webcast for the Depth Psychology Alliance during which listeners will participate as we discuss Islam, and Islamophobia in America and Depth Psychology. If you have questions about Islam or Islamophobia, or would like to join in constructive conversation on these issues, please join us – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this free event

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James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James earned his doctorate in History of Religions from Vanderbilt University and teaches courses in world religions for Central Michigan University’s Global Campus as well as courses in Islam for Excelsior State College, Thomas Edison State University, and American Public University. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from the Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career as a teenager working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others.

www.SymolsofTransformation.com
https://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/
www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited

Rumi (N.D.) Ghazal 120. Dar-Al-Masnavi. Retrieved from: http://www.dar-al-masnavi.org/gh-0120.html

 
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GET DETAILS AND ACCESS INFO FOR THIS SPECIAL EVENT 6/18 HERE

 

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Islamophobia in America: A Case Study

of the Scapegoat Archetype  

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"A majority may not impose its religious values on others, nor limit minority religious rights. The fact that a majority of Americans do not share the beliefs of a minority faith does not make those beliefs and practices any less protected. Unless all Americans are assured of religious freedom, the freedom of all Americans is in question...Good citizenship includes the civic duty to uphold religious freedom for all. Religious liberty rights are best guarded when each person and group takes responsibility to guard not only their own rights but the rights of others, including those with whom they deeply disagree. This respect for the rights of others is not indifference to theological or moral disagreement, but rather a civic virtue necessary to maintain peace in a religiously diverse society" Interfaith Alliance  (2012)

The American response to unknown people, religions, and cultures has been sadly predictable over the centuries. Rituals of fear, mistrust, and prejudice have been enacted repeatedly on the American continent since before there was a United States. Catholics, Jews, Irish, Italians, Africans, Native Americans and others have all been on the receiving end of shadow projections and scapegoating at one time or another in our history. The contemporary crisis in the American Muslim community is the most recent appearance of this phenomenon. From a Jungian perspective, scapegoating can be seen as a combination of both an aspect of shadow projection and an expression of the archetype of sacrifice. Scapegoating and shadow projection become particularly problematic when they are politicized and used as techniques for constellating and activating a desired constituency.

A key tenet of liberty in the United States has always been the right to religious freedom. And yet, in recent times this basic right has been brought into question by those who fear a religion which they do not understand. This climate of fear and prejudice directed towards Muslims has increased alarmingly since the beginning of the US presidential primary season (Haynes, 2016). According to a research report recently published by the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University,

"Since the first candidate announced his bid for the White House in March 2015, there have been approximately 180 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence, including: 12 murders; 34 physical assaults; 49 verbal assaults or threats against persons and institutions; 56 acts of vandalisms or destruction of property; 9 arsons; and 8 shootings or bombings, among other incidents" (Abdelkader, 2016, p. 5).

Such incidents of violence against American Muslims increased in September 2015 during the early stages of the Syrian refugee crisis, which was

"…accompanied by approximately 10 reported incidents or threats of violence, including 3 murders. In comparison, there was one (1) such incident in August 2015 representing a significant increase in anti-Muslim violence over the course of one month" (Abdelkader, 2016, p. 6).

Subsequent to the uptick in candidate rhetoric against Muslims in response to the Paris bombings and the San Bernardino shootings, violence against American Muslims once again increased. During December, 2015 there were

"…53 total attacks that month, 17 of which targeted mosques and Islamic schools and 5 of which targeted Muslim homes. By comparison, when the presidential election season began just 9 months earlier, there were only 2 anti-Muslim attacks. Attacks on Muslims during this month constitute approximately 1/3 of all attacks last year. In fact, in December 2015, anti-Muslim attacks occurred almost daily and often multiple times a Day" (Abdelkader, 2016, p. 7).

It seems that Islam has been so widely misunderstood in popular American culture that, for many, fear and hostility seem to be the only practical response. As a university educator who daily teaches courses in Islam and world religions, I encounter fears and misunderstandings of this type (though only rarely open hostility) on a regular basis. Even interested, well-intentioned individuals often demonstrate an implicit, sometimes unconscious bias against Islam and Muslims. This seems to occur for two main reasons: one, a general lack of accurate knowledge about the religion of Islam, and, two, a consistent tendency on the part of media, political leaders, and others, to inaccurately ascribe religious motivations to violent, terrorist acts. The one (inaccurate knowledge about the religion of Islam) seems to feed the other (a tendency to ascribe religious motivations to acts of terrorism). An accurate understanding of a religion like Islam, a religion that was born and has developed in a culture very different from our own, requires patience and a willingness to learn. Neither of these qualities is typically found in abundance in contemporary American culture.

Just to clarify, no mainstream Muslim understands terrorist or extremist violence as being religiously justifiable under Islam. Quite the opposite. Terrorists who are motivated by social and political pressures attempt to wrest from Islamic scriptures religious justifications for their hateful acts, but in every case the Quran speaks against such actions. Below are some statements issued by the Fiqh Council of North America (an Islamic juristic body) to clarify the Islamic stand against terrorism:

"Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism" (Interfaith Alliance, 2012, p. 6).

“[1] All acts of terrorism, including those targeting the life and property of civilians, whether perpetrated by suicidal or any other form of attacks, are haram (forbidden) in Islam.

[2] It is haram (forbidden) for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or prohibited violence.

[3] It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to undertake full measures to protect the lives of all civilians, and ensure the security and well-being of fellow citizens" (Interfaith Alliance, 2012, p. 6).

If you find the topics explored here of interest to you, I hope you will join me on Saturday, June 18, 2015 at 1:00pm PDT (4:00pm EDT). I will be hosting a free, live community conversation/webcast for the Depth Psychology Alliance during which listeners will participate as we discuss Depth Psychology, Islam, and Islamophobia in America. If you have questions about Islam or Islamophobia, or would like to join in constructive conversation on these issues, please join us – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this free event

______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James earned his doctorate in History of Religions from Vanderbilt University and teaches courses in world religions for Central Michigan University’s Global Campus as well as courses in Islam for Excelsior State College, Thomas Edison State University, and American Public University. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from the Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career as a teenager working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others.

www.SymolsofTransformation.com
https://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/
www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited

Abdelkader, E. (2016). When Islamophobia Turns Violent: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections. Washington, DC: The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University. Retrieved from: http://bridge.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/When-Islamophobia-Turns-Violent.pdf

Haynes, C. (2016). Make America Safe Again: Reject Islamophobia. NewseumInstitute.org. Retrieved from: http://www.newseuminstitute.org/2016/05/12/make-america-safe-again-reject-islamophobia/

Interfaith Alliance. (2012). What is the Truth About American Muslims? Washington, DC: Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center. Retrieved from: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/madison/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FAC_American_Muslims_Q_A.pdf

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Happiness is a Warm Gun:
A Community Conversation on Gun Violence in America

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Last June the Depth Psychology Alliance hosted its first community conversation. The topic of this event was “What is Depth Psychology?” However, a few days before the event a young white man entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina and murdered nine innocent African American worshippers in the middle of their worship service. This tragic act of violence, like so many mass shootings before it, was widely covered by the news media. As a result, our community conversation was dominated by our reflections on the confusion and despair that we all felt about this horrific, senseless, and racist act of gun violence. One result of that conversation was the development of our ongoing community conversation on racism: “The Souls of White Folk.” These conversations have been a wonderful resource, and a first step in addressing a pronounced lack of diversity in the depth psychology community in general, and in the Alliance in particular. Even so, since that early conversation we have also wanted to address another aspect of this traumatic event: the epidemic of gun violence in America.

Aside from the often repeated refrain that gun violence is a “mental health issue” (usually employed to deflect calls for stricter gun control laws), little if anything is ever said in mainstream culture about gun violence from a depth psychological perspective. If we do look at gun violence from this perspective, what do we find? What do these terrifyingly repetitious acts of gun violence say about the unconscious of our culture? When the same dream is repeated over and over, it seems clear that the unconscious has an urgent message to deliver. What is the message our cultural unconscious is delivering here? Is this another cultural complex? If so, what archetypes are activated at the core of this complex? Why is it that this phenomenon seems to be an almost exclusively male phenomenon? What is it about the male psyche that makes it so susceptible to the lure of guns and to the performance of acts of mass violence with guns?

My own point of view is that these events are instigated by a number of factors: personal, cultural, and collective, or archetypal. Our Depth Psychology Alliance president, Craig Chalquist, has produced a wonderful presentation on some of the personal factors that he’s observed when doing group work with violent men (see the links below). In depth psychology we also tend to look at historical patterns which support current complexes. That our culture, and our nation, were built upon acts of mass violence (often racially motivated mass violence) and that it was guns that typically tipped the scales in such conflicts, seems quite significant. Archetypally, it also seems clear that the negative side of the hunter/warrior archetype, a function that helped human beings survive for millions of years, seems to be highly charged and activated in these events. How is our culture neglecting, excluding, or otherwise not accounting for the positive side of this important archetypal hunter/warrior function?

If you find these questions compelling, or if you, too, are trouble by the explosion of gun violence in recent years, I hope you will join me, Alliance president Craig Chalquist, and others as we explore these questions and more on the epidemic of gun violence in America from a depth psychology perspective. Please join us on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 6:00pm PT. Bring your thoughts, hopes, ideas, grief, joys, success, and questions to this free community conversation event. This Depth Psychology Alliance community conversation is a live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with a panel of interested persons as we discuss Depth Psychology and gun violence in America – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this event


Craig Chalquist on Gun Violence:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAaKKNPGk6Q

Cycle of Abuse in Violent Acts

http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/cycle_of_abuse.html


______________________________

James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, and Big Joe Turner.

www.SymbolsofTransformation.com
https://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/
www.JamesRNewell.com

Read more…

 

9142453864?profile=original For those who have experienced it first hand, the connection between racism and trauma is all too real. In previous posts we’ve discussed at length the horrific history of racism in America, specifically the history of the racist oppression of people of African descent in the Americas, and the genocidal treatment of the native peoples of the Americas. Unfortunately, as we see daily in the news and postings across diverse media, racism is not simply an historical event. It is ever present in our daily lives in the contemporary world.

From a depth psychology perspective, it’s possible to see the contemporary awareness that has accompanied recent graphically broadcasted cases of racism as a step towards healing. Early in our history, racism was accepted and almost unchallenged. Then, gradually, it was seen to be undeniably wrong, and, thanks to the insistent, vocal challenges to the status quo by Dr. King, native activists, and other courageous individuals, incremental changes began to occur. Changes in voting laws, affirmative action, the reservation system, etc. were enacted, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans began to be more fairly portrayed in the media, and white people began to feel quite self-congratulatory: now every thing was okay! But much was still going on under the surface of American culture.

Even today, understanding, let alone accepting, white privilege is a challenge for many white people. However, more and more, the deep unconscious structures, ideologies and racist ancestral attitudes that have supported racism historically and systemically are beginning to rise to the surface of cultural consciousness. As they rise, and we examine each event by turn, thinking individuals who have the courage to be brutally honest with themselves cannot fail to see that there is still much to heal.

We know from depth psychology that, while often terribly painful, such catharsis can often bring about a lasting healing that repression and avoidance will never accomplish. In group and individual therapy situations many of us have observed that repressed trauma often comes back in the form of rage. As we move through the rage, however, inevitably, underneath the rage there lie oceans of grief; a wailing sadness that no one person can endure alone. This is archetypal rage, and archetypal grief. This is the grief and rage of the gods. No one individual can carry this grief and rage alone. This level of grief and rage must be shared with others, and with the gods. 

This is why it is so important for us to come together and talk about our shared experiences of racism, trauma, rage, and grief. Healing can only come by sharing our experiences of archetypal rage, trauma, and grief. Together we can offer these experiences and feelings back to the gods, who alone can manage the enormous energies contained within them. Together we can contain the energy and transform it into positive, generative, constructive change in the world.

In December 2015 we held our first community conversation on the Archetypal Roots of Racism in America. I hope you will join us on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 12:00 noon PT when The Depth Psychology Alliance will host a follow-up live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with members of the board of the Depth Psychology Alliance and other as we continue to explore and discuss the Archetypal Roots of Racism in America from a depth psychology perspective – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this event

______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others.

www.SymolsofTransformation.com
https://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/
www.JamesRNewell.com

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The Souls of White Folk Pt. 5: A Community Discussion on the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America

9142454687?profile=originalRacism, Healing, Redemption, Justice, and Reconciliation  

“Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds? Unless you have this, you have only a physical presence, and the walls between us are as high as the mountain range” – Chief Dan George (Nerburn, 1999, p. 76).

"Most of these people will never make the headlines and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live -- men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization -- because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize acceptance speech, December 10, 1964, Oslo, Norway.

Over the past several weeks we’ve attempted, through a series of blog posts, to survey a number of contributing factors to the archetypal roots of the trauma of racism in America. The intention has been to suggest possible areas for reflection, discussion, and future research. It has not been our purpose finally to define racism’s archetypal roots, nor to limit possible avenues of future inquiry. In that spirit, we’ve suggested that the trauma of racism in America is a spiritual crisis that impacts every area of contemporary life. We’ve made the claim that our most virulent cultural challenges today – gun violence, income inequality, environmental disaster, mass incarceration, unbridled materialism, and more – are rooted, economically and ideologically, in the historical facts of the genocide of native people and the enslavement of kidnapped Africans.

In terms of archetypal development, we’ve identified the trauma of racism in America as a cultural shadow-complex that includes the early, false binary of savage/civilized, the cultural fear of one’s own psychological shadow, and we've linked these fears to the fear of our own archetypal endowment, what Carl Jung has called the 2,000,000 person in each of us. Finally, we've shown how these fears have led to centuries of severe trauma. The fact that such trauma has multi-generational impact is widely recognized (Danieli, 1998). Recent research has even shown that intense trauma, such as that described in our previous post, is recorded at the genetic level and may have significant impact on immune function (Uddin, et al, 2010). 

Racism as Trauma

This brings us back to a question asked in an earlier post, “How does one recover from centuries of trauma?” Perhaps more importantly one might ask, “How does a culture recover from centuries of trauma?” Multi-generational cultural trauma that has gone on for centuries, impacts both perpetrator and victim, and its unseen reverberations exact a heavy toll on all those who experience, witness, or participate in evil. Perpetrators of violence and trauma will often seek treatment because they have become so horrified at how they have violated their own principles of right and wrong. Even those who sit complacently in the citadels of white privilege must sooner or later experience and endure the heritage of this dark cultural ancestry. Multi-generational cultural trauma is not the same as individual trauma, but there are many similarities that we might learn from.
9142454298?profile=originalPsychologist Dr. Raymond Flannery, Jr. (1994) has a long reputation of working with survivors of trauma. Flannery identifies three important symptoms in survivors of trauma: dissociation, learned helplessness, and repetition compulsion. Culturally, we see dissociation in our inability to focus on the reality of our traumatic history. We’ve learned to feel helpless and impotent in the face of rising racial violence and tensions, and we repeat endless cycles of hand-wringing, power and control tactics, and violent confrontations. Some of the disorders that Flannery identifies as resulting from untreated trauma can be seen widely in our culture as well: anxiety disorders, depressive states, and addictions. Any of these cultural symptoms and disorders can be triggered by experiencing (and witnessing via news reports, etc.) recurring instances of trauma, violence, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. Racism and hate speech are always emotionally abusive, and they frequently escalate into (and tacitly encourage) more direct, confrontational offenses.

How, then, can we best heal from these present and historic injustices? The first step, of course, is to eliminate all forms of racism and abuse from one’s environment, and to be clear in all instances that its is unacceptable; but what next? Flannery suggests four goals for individuals recovering from trauma. These may also be of help culturally. They are: 1. Reduce physiological arousal. On a cultural level this might amount to making a commitment to be more aware of and to manage experiences that trigger us, to think through our responses in intense situations. 2. Restore reasonable mastery. As a response to learned helplessness, this would mean a commitment to taking those steps that are reasonable and within our control to recognize and own the history of racial trauma upon which our culture has been built. 3. Build caring attachments. Culturally, this means listening to one another as we tell the our stories and as we tell the truth about what has happened to us. It could also mean simply making a commitment to being what Dr. King has called a ‘person of good will,’ being open to diversity in every area of life, embracing and cherishing the relationships we already have, and being committed to building new relationships. 4. Meaning Making. This simply means doing our best to make sense of our history, to honestly and deeply grieve the losses that we have experienced individually and culturally, and to find a renewed sense of value and purpose in life.
9142454854?profile=originalRacism as a Spiritual Crisis

Admittedly, these suggested approaches to racism as cultural trauma are only partially, if at all helpful. Ultimately, the trauma of racism is a spiritual crisis that brings us face to face with evil, and challenges our faith in the sacred. If we approach racism as a spiritual crisis, from the perspective of depth psychology, then it is essential that we find a way to affirm that the archetype of good can and will prevail over the archetype of evil. We must find, invoke, and constellate our most positive sense and experience of transcendent good and enter into communion with it, preferably on a cultural level. For religious people this is often easier than for those who are uncomfortable with cultural religious forms. A religious person can invoke God, or their Buddha nature, etc., but all of us can claim fidelity to some transcendent value. The philosophical values of beauty, virtue, justice, courage, etc. can represent the transcendent, as can archetypal imagoes such as the king, or one (or more) of the Greek Gods. Invoking these values through prayer and meditation can have a transformative affect on all who take part.

9142454097?profile=originalInevitably, any authentic encounter with our cultural shadow complex will constellate intense grief. The losses we have suffered as a culture are overwhelming, and continue to grow daily. As Francis Weller (2015) says “Through grief, we are initiated into a more inclusive conversation between our singular lives and the soul of the world” (p. xvii). There is no way that we can each grieve the extraordinary losses that racism has visited upon our culture. Weller suggests making grief a spiritual practice, where one addresses grief bit by bit, on a daily basis, without turning away from it. Group grief process can also help us to recognize that no one of us is responsible for the horrors of the world, nor must we face them alone. In addition to Francis Weller’s fine book The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, there are many other valuable resources available for work with grief and cultural ancestry.

It is my own hope that, by dealing with our history of racism as best we can through individual and group efforts, we may effectively work towards healing and redemption and ultimately move toward achieving some measure of justice and reconciliation. A suggestion that I’ve made before, and that I would like to see take shape one day, is a grassroots movement to make the traditional July fourth holiday a national day of mourning, where we all join together to mourn the loss of millions of Native American, African American and other lives that were given that we may each enjoy whatever measure of freedom we enjoy today. I invite you to think of ways that you, too, might affirm unity in the midst of diversity.

9142455077?profile=originalIf you’ve found any value in this series of reflections on the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America, I hope you will join us on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 12:00 noon PT. Bring your thoughts, hopes, ideas, grief, joys, success, and questions to our free community event. The Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting a live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with a panel of interested persons as we discuss Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to RSVP for this event

9142453864?profile=original______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
 is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James received his doctorate from Vanderbilt University. He teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others. For more information about James please see: www.SymbolsofTransformation.comhttps://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/ - www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited

Danieli, Y. Ed. (1998). International Handbook of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Nerburn, K. , Ed. (1999). The Wisdom of the Native Americans. New York, NY: MJF Books.

Flannery, R. (1994). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Victims Guide to Healing and Recovery. New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company.

Mohamed, S. (2015). Of Monsters and Men: Perpetrator Trauma and Mass Atrocity. Columbia Law Review, vol 115 (p. 1157-1216).

Uddin, M., Aiello, A., Wildman, D., Koenen, K., Pawelec, G. de los Santos, R., Goldmann, E., Galea, S. (2010). Epigenetic and immune function profiles associated with posttraumatic stress disorder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 107, (20), p. 9470–9475.

Weller, F. (2015). The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

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The Souls of White Folk Pt. 4: A Community Discussion on the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America

9142454662?profile=originalRacism, Trauma, Sacrifice, and Evil  

"…[T]hey are so artless and free with all they possess, that no one would believe it without having seen it. Of anything they have, if you ask them for it, they never say no; rather they invite the person to share it, and give as much as if they were giving their hearts; and whether the thing be of value or of small price, at once they are content with whatever little thing of whatever kind may be given to them." – Christopher Columbus describing the natives of Hispaniola, 1492 (quoted in Stannard, 1992, p. 63).

“Once the Indians were in the woods, the next step was to form squadrons and pursue them, and whenever the Spaniards found them, they pitilessly slaughtered everyone like sheep in a corral. It was a general rule among Spaniards to be cruel; not just cruel, but extraordinarily cruel, so that harsh and bitter treatment would prevent Indians from daring to think of themselves as human beings or having a minute to think at all. So they would cut an Indian’s hands and leave them dangling by a shred of skin saying, ‘Go now, spread the news to your chiefs.’” – Bartolome de Las Casas, Spanish missionary who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage, 1495 (quoted in Stannard, 1992, p. 70).

How does one recover from centuries of trauma? The history of the Americas is so steeped in trauma that it is impossible for us to grasp its enormity. The depth and breadth of human suffering upon which our culture has been built is so colossal that the heart and mind deaden before one is able to fully grasp its historical reality. The land upon which each of us lives, and the economy within which we sustain ourselves, are built upon a legacy of theft, torture, murder, and unthinkable levels of human suffering.

9142454260?profile=originalAccording to author and scholar Ward Churchill (2004), in 1500 there were an estimated 12 million Native Americans living in North America. By 1900 there were barely 237,000. Whether this reduction in number was the result of genocide or simply an inevitable ‘clash of cultures’ remains a hotly debated issue among contemporary scholars. It matters little to the survivors of trauma what the cause; the wounds remain equally devastating.

Americans often speak with pride of how quickly their young nation grew and the astonishing entrepreneurial spirit of early Americans. It is seldom mentioned that virtually every American business was built on stolen land and the entire economy fueled by free labor, thanks to the more than 10 million Africans who were kidnapped and brought to the continent for just that purpose. In his book The Half Has Not Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, Edward Baptist (2014) argues that the American economy was not only boosted by free labor, but that it was further enriched by the violent inducement of the labor force to work harder, and by the human trafficking itself which fueled the institution. Again, the exact details and their interpretation matter little to the survivors of trauma.

9142454281?profile=originalAccording the University of Houston Digital History archive, the Middle-Passage (2014) alone accounted for the loss of literally millions of lives, and untold trauma.

“The trans-Atlantic slave trade was the largest movement of people in history. Between 10 and 15 million Africans were forcibly transported across the Atlantic between 1500 and 1900. But this figure grossly understates the actual number of Africans enslaved, killed, or displaced as a result of the slave trade. At least 2 million Africans--10 to 15 percent--died during the infamous "Middle Passage" across the Atlantic. Another 15 to 30 percent died during the march to or confinement along the coast. Altogether, for every 100 slaves who reached the New World, another 40 had died in Africa or during the Middle Passage.”

A staggering moral cost for the development of a vibrant young economy.

When we begin to speak in such large numbers it becomes difficult to comprehend such a massive level of collective suffering, even when its cause is so painfully evident. Attempting to hold the combined ideas of “Between 10 and 15 million Africans…” kidnapped and forced into labor, an estimated 2 million Africans dying while being transported against their wills across the Atlantic, and an estimated 10 million (or more) Native Americans vanishing over the course of four centuries, can be overwhelming. As historian David Stannard (1992) puts it, one needs to “…keep in mind the treasure of a single life in order to avoid becoming emotionally anesthetized by the sheer force of such overwhelming human evil and destruction” (p. xi). Such concerns are present whenever one encounters trauma, but how much more so when the trauma occurs on such a monumental cultural scale?

9142454055?profile=originalYet this is exactly what lies at the core of the cultural shadow complex discussed in previous blogs. Whether forgotten, avoided, repressed or simply pushed aside, our cultural shadow still festers with centuries of unresolved trauma. Millions upon millions of deaths, of tortured men, women, and children, and a legacy of utter cultural abandonment. Such massive trauma amounts to a cultural encounter with evil. For these reasons I claim that racism is a spiritual crisis. All of these horrors and traumas are rooted in racist beliefs and convictions, and such an encounter with transpersonal evil cannot be assimilated by any culture, much less by any individual. Only a spiritual response can adequately address trauma and evil.
9142454076?profile=originalI say spiritual response because an encounter with evil on this level can only be experienced archetypally, and archetypes are always the realm of the transpersonal, the realm of the Gods. Seen in this light, the millions of deaths, the massive trauma and suffering that have given birth to our culture can be seen as a massive, unconscious human sacrifice. According to Jeffrey Carter (2006), sacrifice is a category of religious ritual. As he says,

“The Latin word sacrificium, derived from sacer, “holy,” and facere, “to make,” is the etymological basis for the word “sacrifice.” These roots imply that sacrifice is in fact a process of sanctification, a means by which to consecrate something” (p. 2-3).

Such a massive, unconscious sacrifice must be brought into consciousness if it is ever to be experienced as redemptive. It must be brought into conscious, deliberate relationship with the sacred. An unconscious encounter with such a horrific legacy of transpersonal evil can only be remedied by an equal or, preferably, greater measure of consciously experienced transpersonal good. Whatever one’s idea of the sacred, whatever one’s idea of the greatest transpersonal good, it is this which must be invoked if we ever hope to heal individually and collectively from the encounter with evil that must be endured if we are effectively to face our collective cultural shadow complex. Possible methods and solutions for facing the trauma of our collective cultural shadow complex will be the subject of our next blog, the final entry in this series, prior to our upcoming community event (see below). I hope you’ll join us!

(Click here for the previous post)

Click here to read Part 5

 

Next week we will publish the final post in this series of reflections on the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America. If you find the topics explored in these posts of interest to you, I hope you will join us on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 12:00 noon PT. The Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting a live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with members of the board of the Depth Psychology Alliance as we discuss Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to RSVP for this event

______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
 is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James received his doctorate from Vanderbilt University. He teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others. For more information about James please see: www.SymbolsofTransformation.comhttps://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/ - www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited

Baptist, E. (2014). The Half Has Not Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Carter, J. (2006). Ed., Understanding Religious Sacrifice: A Reader. New York, NY: Continuum.

Churchill, W. (2004). A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books.

Middle Passage (2014) Digital History. University of Houston. Retrieved from: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=446

Stannard, D. (1992). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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The Souls of White Folk Pt. 3: A Community Discussion on the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America

9142452899?profile=originalThe 2,000,000-Year-Old in Each of Us  

"Together the patient and I address ourselves to the 2,000,000-year-old man that is in all of us. In the last analysis, most of our difficulties come from losing contact with our instincts,
with the age-old unforgotten wisdom stored up in us. And where do we make contact with this old man in us? In our dreams" – C. G. Jung (1978/1953, p. 76)


What causes so-called civilized people to fear the ‘other’?
To label those outside of their cultural milieu as ‘barbarian’ or ‘savage’? In our last post, we discussed the idea of a cultural shadow complex that included a fear of the so-called ‘savage.’ We suggested that it was this shadow complex that early Western travelers and explorers projected onto the indigenous peoples of Africa and the Americas they encountered. Their fear of the unknown manifested in the labeling of those they encountered as ‘barbarian’, or ‘savage’, and ultimately fueled fear, hatred, and racism, fears that still exist in contemporary American culture. In a recent work on the topic of the idea of the ‘savage’, entitled Savage Anxieties, Native American rights advocate Robert Williams (2012) surveys three thousand years of Western civilization, from Homer to contemporary legal opinions, outlining this tendency to fear the other as ‘savage’ and how this fear continues to exist in modern people.


9142453293?profile=originalOf course, from a developmental point of view, it was essential for humans to develop culture, laws, customs, and practices that differentiated them from their ancient past in which survival was all. With the development of agriculture came the possibility of survival on a much more widespread and dependable level. These revolutionary changes brought with them advances in culture and specialization. Trades, crafts, and skills of various types were developed. The concept of wealth and the hoarding of grains and other goods became possible on a scale never before imagined. The fear of regressing back to an earlier phase of human development was perhaps natural, and was vigorously guarded against. Thus, the natural, instinctual human nature that had guided humans for millions of years was pushed further and further into the background, and into the unconscious.

Prior to this phase of human development, for literally millions of years, humans lived in small groups of hunter-gatherers, usually made up of 25 to 50 people. The lions share of our evolutionary development, what Jungian Anthony Stevens (2002) has called our “archetypal endowment”, occurred during this period. As Stevens describes it,

“The archetypal endowment with which each of us is born presupposes the natural life-cycle of our species—being mothered, exploring the environment, playing in the peer group, adolescence, being initiated, establishing a place in the social hierarchy, courting, marrying, childrearing, hunting, gathering, fighting, participating in religious rituals, assuming the social responsibilities of advanced maturity, and preparation for death” (p. 45).

The sum total of this archetypal endowment is what Jung (1976) has oft been quoted as calling “…the  2,000,000-year-old man that is in all of us” (p. 76). Throughout this period, all aspects of human life were regulated by myths, stories, ritual, and many practices that are all but lost to contemporary human culture.


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For contemporary people, fear of the so-called ‘savage’ often runs parallel to the fear of regressing back to the 2,000,000-year-old in each of us that Jung speaks of. Although fear of regression can be healthy for those who are only beginning to differentiate consciousness and culture onto a higher level, if such differentiation continues unchecked it amounts to dissociation and neurosis. This is true for the individual and for culture. As Jung (1958) has said, “Ultimately, every individual life is at the same time the eternal life of the species” (p.89).

From the point of view of Depth Psychology, regression is not always a step backwards. The past is always present, and if one wants to move toward consciousness, an apparently regressive movement into the darkness is often necessary. Just as the hero must go into the darkness in order to retrieve the treasure, so must contemporary people examine the past and integrate it into consciousness. As Jung has said,

“…regression is not necessarily a retrograde step in the sense of backwards development or degeneration, but rather represents a necessary phase of development…It is only if he remains stuck in this condition that we can speak of involution or degeneration…progression should not be confused with development, for the continuous flow or current of life is not necessarily development and differentiation” (p. 37).

From this point of view it is essential to re-integrate into consciousness the archetypal endowment represented by Jung’s idea of the 2,000,000-year-old Self. In fact, failure to meet the needs of our archetypal endowment results in what Stevens calls the frustration of archetypal intent. Much of modern society fails to support and nurture this inborn and age-old archetypal intent, resulting in a plague in the contemporary world of alienation, depression, violence, and widespread discontent.

I suggest that it is the spiritual work of all contemporary people to begin to heal the spiritual crisis of the cultural trauma of racism. This healing process will involve taking back our projections and recognizing the historical sufferings that such projections have caused. A part of this healing process will involve the moral challenge of integrating the shadow on both individual and cultural levels, grieving the losses that inevitably come to light as a result of such shadow work, and consciously addressing the 2,000,000-year-old person in each of us. Accessing this “age-old unforgotten wisdom stored up in us” can be an important step in our healing process. Integrating the cultural shadow means recognizing the horrific cultural traumas that have been generated by racism historically, as well as in the contemporary world. The archetypal aspects of the cultural traumas of genocide, kidnapping, murder, the dehumanization implicit in the institution of slavery, and more, will be discussed in our next post.

(Click here for the next post in the series)


In the coming weeks we will continue to post more reflections on some of the specific elements of the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America. If you find the topics explored of interest to you, I hope you will join us on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 12:00 noon PT. The Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting a live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with members of the board of the Depth Psychology Alliance as we discuss Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to RSVP for this event

______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
 is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James received his doctorate from Vanderbilt University. He teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others. For more information about James please see: www.SymbolsofTransformation.comhttps://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/ - www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited

Jung, C. G. (1973/1960). On the Nature of the Psyche. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. (1978/1953). Psychological Reflections. A New Anthology of His Writings 1905-1961. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. (1958). Psychology and Religion West and East. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Stevens, A. (2002). Archetype Revisited: An Updated Natural History of the Self. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Williams, R. (2012). Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

Read more…


The Souls of White Folk Pt. 2: A Community Discussion on the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America
9142452853?profile=originalSavage and Civilized: Which is Which?

CIVILIZATION, n. The act of civilizing, or the state of being civilized; the state of being refined in manners, from the grossness of savage life, and improved in arts and learning.

SAVAGISM, n. The state of rude uncivilized men; the state of men in their native wildness and rudeness.   – Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 (Pearce, 1988).

What can we safely say are the archetypal roots of the trauma of racism in America? For that matter, what are archetypes, and why should they matter in a discussion of the trauma of racism in America? As mentioned in the first post in this series (Click here for part one), in the traditional idea of American Exceptionalism, juxtaposed with the historical facts of the genocide of native people and the enslavement of kidnapped Africans, one can discern what a Jungian might call a cultural shadow complex. Depth psychologist Carl Jung claimed that at the root of a complex one would, as a rule, find an archetype. Generally speaking, an archetype is a basic, unconscious pattern in the psyche, or the tendency to form representations of such basic, unconscious patterns (Jung, 1964, p.67).

To say that there is a cultural shadow complex at the root of the trauma of racism in America is to combine the idea of a cultural complex (Kimbles, 2000) with Jung’s idea of the shadow (Jung, 1959), or to combine that idea with the idea that there is a significant portion of one’s own personal history that one is reluctant to face, the part of one’s history which one pushes into the personal unconscious, or represses. For Jung,

"The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real" (p. 8).

Likewise, the resolution of the cultural shadow complex that has for centuries manifested as the trauma of racism is also a moral problem, one that has long since reached the state of a spiritual crisis in our culture. Becoming conscious of this cultural shadow complex likewise involves “…recognizing the dark aspects of [our culture] as present and real.”

One characteristic of archetypes that Jung has noted is that they always appear in dual aspects: positive and negative, good and evil, black and white. Anthropologists and historians have long pointed out that a similar binary pair can be found at the root of the trauma of racism in America, that of ‘savage’ and ‘civilized’ (Pearce, 1988; Jennings, 1975; Baker, 1998). Anthropologist Lee Baker claims that this binary pairing of ‘savage’ and ‘civilized’ is a later formulation of the earlier binary pairing of the ideas of ‘saved’ and ‘damned’. The earlier formulation claimed religious authority, the latter – appearing at the dawning of the enlightenment – claims ‘scientific’ authority.

9142452678?profile=originalEarly explorers (beginning with Columbus) and early immigrants to the Americas  justified their treatment of the Native peoples that they encountered by claiming that the natives were ‘savages’ and that they were being ‘civilized’ by their encounters with white Europeans. Slave traders and those who built their early American labor forces with kidnapped Africans likewise justified their treatment of those in their charge by claiming that the Africans were ‘savages’ and were being benefited by their exposure to civilization and Christianity. One report has it that some early Native Americans were skeptical about the moral superiority of the ‘Christians’ they encountered when they observed the treatment of slaves in the newly formed European colonies in the New World. When a group of missionaries tried to convince a group of natives of the Delaware Nation to join them and convert to European ways, the natives were reluctant, due to the way they saw Americans treating people with dark skin. It was reported that:

"They [the Delaware Native Americans] therefore had determined to wait, to see whether all the black people amongst us were thus made happy and joyful before they would put confidence in our promises; for they thought a people who had suffered so much and so long by our means, should be entitled to our first attention; and therefore they sent back the two missionaries, with many thanks, promising that when they saw the black people among us restored to freedom and happiness, they would gladly receive our missionaries” (quoted in Katz, 1986).

It becomes clear on closer examination that the claims of those who wished to see themselves as ‘civilized’ and morally superior to the ‘savages’ that they encountered were still struggling with their own ‘savage’ natures and projecting their own repressed barbarism onto the people over whom they claimed superiority. When challenged with how to cope with these encounters, they simply became more barbarous and savage than those whom they had labeled as such. This is classic symptomatology of the shadow complex. As anthropologist and historian Roy Harvey Pearce (1988) puts it, it was important “…for civilized men to believe that in the savage and his destiny there was manifest all they had long grown away from and yet still had to overcome” (p. xvii). This projective identification thrust by so-called ‘civilized men’ onto so-called ‘savages’ inspires one to ask: “Which one here is the savage?”

9142452496?profile=originalIt seems that at the core of this issue there lies a fear of what ‘civilized man’ still has to overcome; a fear of the deeper aspects of human nature that these so-called ‘civilized men’ saw in, that is, projected onto, the native people of Africa and the Americas. The association of these fears with and their projection onto people of color seem to me to be essential elements of the archetypal roots of racism in America. How these fears relate to what Jungian Anthony Stevens (1982) calls our ‘archetypal endowment’ and what Jung (1978) calls “…the 2,000,000-year-old man that is in all of us” (p. 76), will be the topic of our next post. This will be followed by posts on archetypal aspects of cultural trauma and the healing of cultural trauma (Click here for part three in this series - Click here for part one in this series)

In the coming weeks we will be posting more reflections on some of the specific elements of the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America. If you find the topics explored of interest to you, I hope you will join us on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 12:00 noon PT. The Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting a live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with members of the board of the Depth Psychology Alliance as we discuss Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this event

Read Part 3 of this Blog: The 2,000,000-Year-Old in Each of Us

 

______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others.

www.SymolsofTransformation.com
https://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/
www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited

Baker, L. (1998). From Savage to Negro: Anthropology and the Construction of Race, 1896-1954. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Jennings, F. (1975). The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

Jung, Carl (1979/1953). Psychological Reflections. A New Anthology of His Writings 1905-1961. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jung, Carl (1979/1959). Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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

Katz, W. (1986). Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Kimbles, S. (2000). The Cultural Complex and the Myth of Invisibility. In Singer, T. Ed. The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World. New York, NY: Routledge.

Pearce, R. (1988). Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

Stevens, A. (1982). Archetypes: A Natural History of the Self. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Read more…

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The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.

   W.E.B. Du Bois, 1903, The Souls of Black Folk
 

The topic of race and racism in America has become a hot button issue in popular culture. However, rarely if ever has this topic been discussed from a Depth Psychology perspective. When viewed from this perspective, and on a collective level, it quickly becomes clear that this is one of the most important spiritual challenges we face as a culture today.  I stress that this is a spiritual challenge because we have tended historically to look to cultural institutions for answers to such challenges. We seek material, social, and political solutions to help us with what is, at root, a spiritual crisis.

It is well known that the impact of discrimination based on racist thoughts and beliefs has had devastating consequences upon diverse populations for centuries. However, members of the dominant culture, those who self-identify and who are identified through the lens of cultural norms and institutions as ‘white,’ have not escaped the spiritual consequences of living in a culture built upon centuries of racism. It is my thesis that our most virulent cultural challenges today – gun violence, income inequality, environmental disaster, mass incarceration, unbridled materialism, and more – are rooted, economically and ideologically, in the historical facts of the genocide of native people and the enslavement of kidnapped Africans. In both cases racial considerations were in  the forefront and the pursuit of profit marginalized any humanitarian considerations.

The emphasis of Depth Psychology is to look for networks of patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior that are not consciously directed. Jungians call these patterns ‘complexes’. Once these patterns, or complexes, are identified consciously, the idea is to begin to heal the root causes and by so doing alter behaviors that do not serve to enhance life. Traditionally, this process is engaged in between two people: the therapist (analyst) and the client. Jungian analyst Samuel Kimbles (2000) has suggested that such unconscious patterns can also be identified in cultural groups, as what he calls ‘cultural complexes.’

When one looks closely at the traditional idea of American Exceptionalism, juxtaposed with the historical facts previously mentioned (the genocide of native people and the enslavement of kidnapped Africans), one can discern what a Jungian might call a cultural shadow complex. That is to say, a history of repressed trauma that has never been adequately addressed on a broad cultural level permeates all aspects of American life. The traumatic cultural memory of these horrific crimes against humanity carries with it a moral imperative to heal. Thus, the work of healing these deep cultural wounds is spiritual work. It seems clear to me that recognizing, owning, and grieving the consequences of our cultural shadow complex is the spiritual work of white people in America. The spiritual growth, and the very souls of white people in America, and the future of all Americans, hang in the balance. If approached seriously, and as a spiritual exercise, this process of grieving our history of violence and discrimination might also have a healing impact on contemporary victims of the trauma of racism, especially Native American people and African Americans, and may ultimately provide a basis for uniting us spiritually and ideologically around shared grief and trauma. (Click here for part two in this series)

In the coming weeks we will be posting reflections on some of the specific elements of the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America. If you find the topics explored of interest to you, I hope you will join us on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 12:00 noon PT. The Depth Psychology Alliance is hosting a live community discussion/webcast during which listeners will participate with members of the board of the Depth Psychology Alliance as we discuss Depth Psychology and the Archetypal Roots of the Trauma of Racism in America – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this event

Read Part 2 of this Blog: Savage and Civilized: Which is Which?

 

______________________________
James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James teaches mainstream religious studies courses online for Central Michigan University and several other schools. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others.

www.SymbolsofTransformation.com
https://www.facebook.com/jamesrnewellphd/
www.JamesRNewell.com

Works Cited
Du Bois, W. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk. Retrieved from: http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/give-me-liberty4/docs/WEBDuBois-Souls_of_Black_Folk-1903.pdf

Kimbles, S. (2000). The Cultural Complex and the Myth of Invisibility. In Singer, T. Ed. The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World. New York, NY: Routledge.

Read more…