Psyche (10)

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Psyche Under Siege

After giving a lecture where I discussed the Holocaust, an elderly man approached me. I could see a genuine kindness and compassion in his face, and also sensed that his soul had seen far too much in his lifetime. He wanted me to re-consider my comment that we could never understand what created the Holocaust and ongoing acts of genocide.

Gently, yet firmly he explained that when we stop trying to understand, we open the door open for future occurrences. I immediately realized that I had made a terrible mistake, and apologized to him and to the memory of all the past, present and future victims of these crimes against humanity whose tragic fate may have been sealed by our collective lack of involvement.

Now, yet again we stand aghast looking at the ongoing proliferation of violence in the world. From the slaughter and rape of the young woman in India, to the shooting of Malala, the 14 year old girl who was targeted because she spoke up for girls right to an education, to the current rash of violence in our own country. We have only to look at the news to be reminded of the slaughter of the innocents in Newtown, CT, of the Tucson shootings a few years ago, and this most recent horror where after shooting a school bus driver, a man held a five (5) year old boy hostage in a bunker for days. Click link to continue reading....

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9142463876?profile=originalThe psyche is primed with an innate, organic wish to connect with something spiritual, something beyond the ordinary—something “numinous,” suggests Dr. Lionel Corbett, who is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and professor, as well as the author of “Psyche and the Sacred,” among other works.

Corbett’s interest in transpersonal, numinous experiences came from growing up with a strong personal sense of connection to something larger that he could never quite articulate. Our religious traditions have tried to channel that kind of instinctive wish to connect with the sacred through rituals and sacraments, he explains, but that is not the only valid way. Revelation is continuing all the time if we know how to look.

In fact, experiences of the sacred originate deeply in our own subjectivity, and not in some transcendent realm, according to Jung’s view. And these observations can take place for “ordinary, everyday people at any time. 

Through small community groups and seminars, Corbett encourages people to explore their own spirituality through a depth psychological lens. Working on our personal shadow material can have a kind of redemptive effect on the collective shadow, he believes, and often individuals who have had a powerful numinous experience haven't realized how important it is to them, or what the implications are, so this exploration is in service to them as well as to the greater whole.

Watch or listen to the interview, “Psyche and the Sacred,” or read a detailed summary article with Dr. Lionel Corbett at

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9781771690317.jpg Just Published by Fisher King Press

Love Matters for Psychic Transformation: A Study of Embodied Psychic Transformation in the Context of BodySoul Rhythms®

by Maja Reinau

From the Foreword by John Hill

Maja Reinau’s book Love Matters for Psychic Transformation serves as an excellent introduction to BodySoul Rhythms (BSR), a method created by Marion Woodman, Ann Skinner, and Mary Hamilton. BSR has been immensely successful, transforming the lives of many women who have participated in its programs. Maja Reinau’s book elucidates the gems that structure this creative method.

The author received her training as a Jungian analyst at The International School of Analytical Psychology, Zürich, and at the same time completed her training in psychodrama. Having undergone intensive personal analysis, clinical supervision, course work on theory, and the experiential method of psychodrama, one might ask why did the author undertake a further training in BSR? Maja Reinau’s book provides ample answers to this question. BSR has been a second home for the author. It is her passion that draws together several loose ends of a rich, multi-faceted personal and professional life. With focus on the psyche-body connection, which includes Jungian theory, dreams, myths, body movement, voice work, mask-work, and artwork, BSR adds a feminine dimension that protects, structures, and provides communal solidarity in the face of challenges arising from a patriarchal culture that engenders disconnect. Maja Reinau notes that at first BSR work had to be open to women only, simply because it was too difficult to hold the container for mixed groups in view of the deep wounds of intimacy generated in cross gender relationships. Eventually it intends to include men in all its programs, in fact this is already taking place in many of the workshops today.

Love Matters for Psychic Transformation skillfully outlines the space-time rhythms of an intensive BSR week. Usually it takes place in a beautiful landscape, which in itself nourishes soul work and activates inner landscapes. It would be beyond the scope of this foreword to describe all the activities of an intensive week, but let me mention a few that strike me as outstanding. Breakfast begins in silence, followed by a ritual dance, the reading of a poem, and a short meditation. The morning ends with a presentation on some specific theme, often connected with Jungian psychology. The afternoon is centered on body and voice work, adding an experiential dimension to what has been already activated through nature, dreams, meditation, or the morning presentation. The focus of the first evening is on providing a positive mothering exercise, the following evenings on the making of masks, and the final evening on an ending ritual.

After having described the basic dynamics of BSR, Maja Reinau interviews six women who have completed the BSR training program. With great skill and confidence the author has documented the transformative moments that take place in BSR intensives. As each story unfolds, one feels one is moving with these women in the river of life. One story speaks about a shamed body gaining presence in the loving gaze of like-minded women. Next we learn about a participant who discovers she can explore a different feminine body that is free from the judgments of the brain and a culture that tells women how they should look. Another narrative tells us how the darkest, shut-off parts of a woman’s soul finally could be met through the eyes of another. Through mask-work one woman faces a rigid defense system, learns to trust what happens in the moment, and discovers that her psyche finds nourishment and new life through listening to myth and poetry. In another case we read about a dramatic occurrence of rebirth that brought healing to an original birth trauma. In the final interview we witness an immersion in a common field connecting body, soul, and group members in a holistic experience that stimulates the imagination in a playful, loving way.

The interviews portray in the most vivid, detailed way what actually happens in an intensive week. Elaborating on this material, Maja Reinau launches into an in-depth theoretical discussion on the key issues that have been activated in each individual participant during a BSR intensive week. She draws upon the findings of Jungian theory, neuroscience, and developmental psychology, but is mindful that theory can never be reductive and certainly not replace the subjective lived experience of the participant, which always has the last word. Nevertheless theory helps weave fragmentary events into a pattern that can serve as a guide for future development as well as a means to communicate the meaning of the BSR method within a larger collegial context.

As Maja Reinau concludes her description of BSR, one has the impression that one has witnessed the essence of women’s mysteries within a modern context. Process, presence, and paradox become the essential ingredients of those mysteries. Each participant has the opportunity of gaining awareness of the creative potential of the psyche, a sense of being truly present to oneself and to the other, and an acceptance of life’s contradictions, especially the realm of the shadow. This salutary brew nourishes the soul when stirred under the auspices of an archetypal feminine triad: the mother, the virgin, and the crone, symbolizing loving containment, pregnant creativity, and the wisdom of age. For Maja Reinau, love is the final transformative factor that brings healing and renewal. This kind of loving is a highly differentiated blend of mirroring, containing, empathic attunement, and resonating with the life energy of all who undertake this daring journey. As one peruses the pages of this book, one cannot but feel the inspiring presence of Marion Woodman, Ann Skinner, and Mary Hamilton. Maja Reinau’s book pays ample tribute to their pioneering endeavor in bringing hope and renewal to the lives of all who have undergone a BSR experience.

Maja Reinau, M.D. is a Zurich trained Jungian analyst, specializing in psychotherapy for children, adolescents, and adults. She has also been trained as psychodrama therapist, EMDR-therapist, and has completed the BodySoul Rhythms leadership-training program. Dr Reinau is as supervisor for the Danish Psychiatric Society, teaches at the Jung Institute in Denmark, and trains doctors in psychotherapy. In addition to her private analytical practice, Dr Reinau also works for the department of personality disorders at the University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark. She is a member of IAAP, AGAP, and DSAP. For more information, please visit

Love Matters for Psychic Transformation
Author: Maja Reinau
Publisher: Fisher King Press
230 pages – Large Page Format (9.25 x 7.5)
Index, Bibliography
Publication Date Feb 16, 2016
ISBN 10: 1771690313
ISBN 13: 9781771690317

Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including 
Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, 
and a growing list of alternative titles. 
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If the “outside,” as we in modern western cultures generally consider the physical world, is manifesting rather worrisome phenomena in the form of conflict, destruction of nature and home places, and racial and income inequality, we can draw a connection from what is occurring in the physical world to what must be occurring on an inner level, and therefore witness symptoms in the psychological realm as well.

The physical symptoms that are manifesting lie within a larger set of underlying issues, which, in turn, are psychological symptoms of an even larger and more fundamental issue: the sense of separation and loss due to our dearth of what C. G. Jung considered the "feeling function" in the world. This feeling function is often overlooked in lieu of our general propensity to adopt the "thinking function" and to disregard the value (and intelligence) of things in the nature.

Psyche and nature are intrinsic to one another, occupying adjacent positions on the same spectrum of being. In light of this, ecocide—the destruction of home and home places in the physical world—may be seen as a pollution, contamination, or killing of psyche in what we have traditionally considered the inner world. Our brazen destruction of nature is so symbolic of the destruction of the connection with the collective unconscious or what Jung called the Self. 

Our wholeness is no longer intact; our psyches are under attack and are, in turn, unable to “house us” properly because of the damage. Deforestation, wildfires, floods, and the like may be witnessed not only in the outer world, but may also be applied to the inner world of psyche. The Cartesian split between nature and psyche can result in a rampant deforestation of the psyche, leaving the ecosystem of the self out of balance, or leave us vulnerable to inundation.... *(Click here to read the full post)

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Sorting the Bones

“This is our meditation practice as women, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of ourselves……”–Clarissa Pinkola Estes


In her dream, a woman finds a pile of bones out behind the place in which she is living.  This is a disturbing image–with its suggestion of a crime have been committed, an act of brutality, or harm having been done.  Although the dream does not provide information about the actual events that occurred, it marks a dark history.  The remnants of that history–the bones–have been left in a heap.

The particulars of this dreamer’s life are not mine to share.  But I can attest to the fact that many of the women that I see in my therapy practice have been harmed in some way.  Our culture does not protect the feminine well.  Women experience injuries to their bodies, their minds, and their souls.  Many carry these wounds silently within themselves–shame or lack of support keeping them quiet–pretending that everything is okay.

The psyche is not fooled.

Despite our best intentions, one day the soul lets out a cry and we dream of bones behind the place where we live–behind the façade, the persona. Something breaks through to the surface (prior to this dream, in fact, this woman had had another dream in which something buried was being dug up).  Something wants our attention, our love and our care.  The psyche brings us an emotional truth in our dreams.

And so the bones are above ground–no longer buried in the depths of the unconscious.  This woman has made a discovery within herself.  She is now aware of the pile of bones behind where she lives.  The bones are up.  Whatever issue they represent has now come to the surface.

It is at this point that healing can take place.

It is not possible to heal when something remains buried, underground, away from consciousness.   Only the discovery of the bones–the discovery of our own injury–can allow us to find our way back to ourselves.  Once we have seen the bones, we can no longer pretend or turn away.  We can begin to retrieve and process our memories, our history.  We can feel our grief and anger and allow our feelings to flow.  Most importantly, perhaps, we can tell our stories and feel our pain and be witnessed.

But first the bones must be sorted.  For this dreamer they are all in a heap.  In other words, experiences, memories, feelings are all jumbled together.   Processing a pile of bones is not an easy thing to do–it can feel overwhelming, frightening, or numbing.

That is why the bones need to be sorted.  Sorting is a particularly feminine activity.  It has its own rhythm and timing.  In the tale of Eros and Psyche, for example, Psyche is given the task of sorting an enormous pile of seeds.  Sorting allows us to process and make sense of–make meaning from–our experiences.

Each bone in the pile has a story to tell.  Each bone must be examined and held and put in its proper place–related to in a way that feels emotionally authentic.  This sorting takes time.  It cannot be rushed.  There is no formula for how long it takes to grieve injury or pain.  We need to honor the bones–to sing their songs and ritualize their place in our lives.  They mark our wounds and our hurts.  They also form a key part of who we are in our wholeness and our humanity.  We need to come into right relationship with our bones.

Only then can we give them the resting place they deserve.


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The link below leads to an article published in the 2013 IASI Yearbook (International Association of Structural Integrators). It comes out of an ongoing attempt to understand how belief systems and complexes shape the body; and it is based on the author's experience in approaching psyche from the body as a DFA (Duggan/French Approach) practitioner to Somatic Pattern Recognition

Working with Beliefs Reflected in Liquid Crystal

I have received requests from people who would like to participate in a discussion of this article. So I am posting it here in the understanding that the Depth Psychology Alliance will allow access to anyone who would like to participate in such a discussion.

In amore recent article, published in the 2014 IASI yearbook I continue de research started in previous years with Towards a Fuller Understanding of the the Interaction between Myofascial tone and Water

In previous years I published two more articles in the same venue, the 2009 and 2011 IASI Yearbooks, which give some background on the Duggan/French Approach to Somatic Pattern Recognition, its relationship to Archetypal Pattern Analysis and its relevance to Depth Psychology.

DFA Somatic Pattern Recognition: DFA Somatic Pattern Recognition.pdf


DFA Somatic Pattern Recognition, Archetypal Field Theory and the New Sciences DFA Somatic Pattern Recognition, Archetypal Field Theory and the New Sciences

The 2014 IASI Yearbook will publish an article based on two posters presented at the 7th and 8th Annual Conference on the Physics, Chemistry and Biology of Water in 2012 in Vermont, USA and 2013 in Samokov, Bulgaria: Towards a fuller understanding of the interaction between myofascial tone and water. It is a follow-up to the article that gives title to this post and I will post it here as well, when it becomes available, because I believe it might prove helpful, or at least interesting, for practitioners of depth psychology as well.

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Nature Dreaming

I dream about foxes living on my property—a silver fox and a red fox.  In the dream, I do not see them, but I know that they are there—mysterious presences that come through the woods and occasionally make themselves known.  In the waking world, I have seen the red fox.  Once, in the dead of winter, I looked out my dining room window and saw it walking on the surface of our frozen pond.  The contrast of color was startling—its bushy rust colored coat framed by the white and gray tones of the ice-covered pond and the deep verdant green of the pines trees on the shore.  It was not until after the fox had disappeared into the trees that I realized I had been holding my breath.  The impact of its visit gripped me deeply and allowed me to feel a sense of connection with the land upon which I live.  These moments of connection are rare and precious.  They enable me to move out of my head and feel an ancient and profound link to the natural world from which we are all born.

According to Jung, as a civilization we have all but lost this primal connection to nature, much to our detriment.  As he remarked, “in the last analysis, most of our difficulties come from losing contact with the instincts, the age-old forgotten wisdom stored up in us.”  He believed that “the earth has a soul,” and warned against the tendency of consciousness to move too far from its roots in nature.

In his own life, Jung spent a great deal of time and energy immersed in the natural world.  He would sit and play at the water’s edge, carving streams and tributaries as a way to bring respite from the matters of the day.  He constructed his tower at Bolingen so that he could be alone with the quiet and solace of nature.  Existing without running water or electricity, he would commune with the spirits of the place, carve images in stone, and take long walks throughout the region.

While it seems at times difficult to imagine—living as we do in a world in which the Goddess, nature, and the earth, are treated so poorly—“the old mother of days,” as Jung sometimes called her, still exists within the unconscious.  The deep wisdom of nature is available to us all through dreams, for example. Here, in the many layers of the psyche, we can encounter her healing medicine.  Even if we live outwardly in a world devoid of natural life—city-dwellers, perhaps—we can find sources of connection within the living psyche.

Every dream is, in fact, an encounter with nature and an attempt to bring our personalities into greater alignment with the authentic life of the soul.  We are constantly bombarded by messages about who we should be.  In much the same way as time spent in nature can help restore a sense of perspective and allow us to fee more whole, so can dreams refund us to an experience of what is right and true for our lives.

As Jung said:

Whenever we touch nature we get clean…People who have got dirty through too much civilization take a walk in the woods or bathe in the sea.  They may rationalize it in this or that way, but they shake off the fetters and allow nature to touch them. It can be done within or without.  Walking in the woods, lying in the grass, taking a bath in the sea, are from the outside; entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and this is the same thing, things are put right again.

To really attune to the wisdom of the dreaming mind we need to slow down and listen deeply.  Nature will speak to us if we allow her a voice.  Paying attention to our dreams requires a turning inwards—toward ourselves and our inner landscape—staying alert for whatever inklings we may find there.

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"Scientific study, cognitive behavioral techniques, self-help books, and political action will not do the trick. We will not achieve the fundamental level of change and understanding that is called for unless the archetypal, transcendent, sacred and mythical dimension of the psyche is engaged. The sense of the sacred Carl Sagan saw as necessary to save the environment will not be developed. Our educational systems will not be able to teach from a deep, holistic, integrated perspective unless they embrace an ecopsychological framework. Without a mythic perspective, hubris and inflation with “our” powers and the religion of science will make John’s revelatory visions a reality."
--Dairy Farmers Guide to the Universe Vol. 1

logo.gifFeaturing an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, Poetry, and a growing list of Alternative titles. 

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Sometimes events occur that naturally captivate our attention, arresting us mid-stream in our daily lives and returning to our thoughts with increasing intensity. While there is no obvious initial explanation for why these events seem to grab us, if we turn our awareness to them, create a container in which they can unfold, and allow them to speak to us through image and emotion, they can provide powerful messages about our personal lives, our psyches, and our relationship with the culture and cosmos around us.

C.G. Jung believed these captivating events and images are manifestations of the unconscious, which are imbued with numinosity. Jung believed in the idea of a collective unconscious, which is vast and inexhaustible; limitless, unknowable, and indefinable. It is made up of what Jung called archetypes, autonomous patterns or instincts that organize the contents of the unconscious and connect it, at its deepest levels, to nature.

Archetypes in the unconscious express themselves in numinous images or symbols providing a sense of what Jung called the Self, an ordering, regulating harmonizing and meaning-giving agency of the psyche. The Self, per Jung is an inner guiding factor, and the totality of the psyche. It is this central archetype around which we circumambulate and gain experience, instinctively seeking wholeness in a process called individuation (Storr, 1983).

A symbol stands for something unknown; a mystery, which can never be exhausted in meaning but is contextually significant to a particular individual. Jungian analyst, Edward Whitmont (1969), contends that symbols allow the emergence of themes from the unconscious in an attempt to reconnect us with a mode of experiencing from which we have become disconnected. He suggests we experience both external objects, things we can detect with our senses and which have meaning for us in a specific context we have learned, and we also experience inner objects that we can’t necessarily know or recognize. Both are represented by images, and “the same images which present themselves to us as representatives of the outside world are subsequently used by the psyche to express the inner world” (1969, p. 29).

Thus, the external object that represents some unknown inner object becomes a symbol, which is “the best possible representation of something that can never be known” (Hopcke, 1999, p. 29). Intuiting the meaning of this object beyond what we already understand it to be is the idea of symbolic thought (Whitmont, 1969). Ryan (2002) calls the symbol both the guiding force that opens the portal to the archetype as well as a vehicle to navigate the deeper parts of the unconscious. Jung (1964) strongly promoted living the symbolic life: taking symbolic experiences seriously.

"In psychological development,” says Jungian analyst and author Patricia Damery in Farming Soul, the ability to symbolize is paramount in the development of soul. Symbolic work with an image is the mysterious process of seeking the essence of an image and understanding its subjective impact upon oneself, as meaning. Jung lamented that modern man is in deep need of the meaning symbols offer through their resonance with the unconscious" (p. 70).

One of the most powerful ideas behind depth psychology is the idea of what Jungian and archetypal psychologist James Hillman called “seeing through,” in order to discover what lies beneath, behind, or beyond the surface level in order to notice patterns that resonate with understanding of one’s own self. Symbols surround us every minute of the day—and many reach out and grab us, begging us to notice them and tap into the rich wisdom they hold in store. What would happen if you focused on a symbolic image each day--a dream image, something given to you by psyche (because you asked!), or something that grabs your attention and won't let it go? How might you be transformed by these powerful messages from psyche simply by tuning in and paying attention?


NOTE: Fisher King Press is donating 10% of all purchases in October back to support Depth Psychology Alliance, the world’s first online community for those interested in depth and Jungian psychologies. Find Patricia Damery's “Farming Soul” and more great depth and Jungian titles at Just enter "DPA10%" in the Instructions box at checkout to support the depth community.



Damery, P. (2010). Farming soul: A tale of initiation. Monterrey, CA: Fisher King Press.

Hopcke, R. H. (1999). A guided tour of the collected works of C.G. Jung. Boston: Shambhala Publications.

Ryan, R. E. (2002). Shamanism and the psychology of C.G. Jung: The great circle. London: Vega.

Storr, A. (Ed.). (1983). The essential Jung: Selected writings. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Whitmont, E. C. (1969). The symbolic quest: Basic concepts of analytical psychology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.



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Another Fisher King Press Jungian Psychology book has just been published:

Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods
by Deldon Anne McNeely

Revised edition, now includes Index.

What can a silly, chaotic figure like a Trickster offer the world? Jungian psychoanalyst Deldon McNeely argues that Trickster’s value lies in amplifying and healing splits in the individual and collective psyche and in inviting us to differentiate our comprehension of evil. Tricksters, long held as aspects of the divine in many cultures, are an archetype of transition, guides in the journey of individuation and psychotherapy, and mediators between the conscious and unconscious world, that which is either unseen or banished from consciousness. Mercury Rising examines Tricksters in light of contemporary cultural trends, including:
  • society’s current disdain for heroes and the hero archetype; 
  • Trickster’s need for mirroring and its implications regarding the narcissistic nature of contemporary culture; 
  • the Trickster’s role in psychotherapy in terms of truth, reliability, and grounding; 
  • the relationship between Trickster and the feminine, and the concomitant emergence of feminine values and voices of wisdom; and 
  • feminine influences on the philosophy of ethics as well as current attitudes toward evil, violence, and sex. 
Inasmuch as Tricksters force us to question our sense of order and morality, as well as our sanity, Mercury Rising explores the hope that “the Anima-ted, life-affirming Trickster will flourish and prevail over the death-dealing excesses that threaten to annihilate many species, including our own.”

Deldon Anne McNeely received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University and is a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. A senior analyst of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, she is a training analyst for their New Orleans Jungian Seminar. Publications include Becoming: An Introduction to Jung’s Concept of Individuation; Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine; and Touching: Body Therapy and Depth Psychologyir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0919123295.

Product Details
* Paperback & eBook editions: 220 pages
* Publisher: Fisher King Press; Revised edition, now with Index (Sept 15, 2011)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1926715543
* ISBN-13: 978-1926715544

fkplogo110x100.jpgFisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting-Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles.
  • International Shipping.
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  • Phone Orders Welcomed. Toll free in the US & Canada: 1-800-228-9316 International +1-831-238-7799 skype: fisher_king_press
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