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Reality of the Psyche

by Deldon Anne McNeely

In 1965, Jolande Jacobi, Jung’s colleague, wrote The Way of Individuation, now a classic. We can use it as a source for delving into questions that speak to us a half-century later. During that half-century the blooming of modernism, post-modernism, and post-post-modern thought raised questions and nuances that color and complicate our images of individuation as presented by Jacobi.

Jung saw himself as a scientific observer of human behavior, not a philosopher who speculated about truth. Still, he was influenced by his own philosophical orientation, as we all are whether we know it or not. We are products of the dominant philosophies of our century, our society, our family, our education. Before adopting anyone’s opinions as our own, we should consider what influenced them. Jung wrote:
Although I owe not a little to philosophy, and have benefited by the rigorous discipline of its methods of thought, I nevertheless feel in its presence that holy dread which is inborn in every observer of facts. (“Foreword to Mehlich, ‘Fichte’s Psychology and Its Relation to the Present,’” CW 18, par. 1730.)
Many of us approach philosophy with holy dread. Its depth threatens to drown us in a confusion of ideas. Jung tried to limit himself to observable facts rather than philosophical speculations. He discussed the concept of individuation in many places throughout his writings, but always guarded against being specific about a process that was meant to serve the particular truth of each individual. So his descriptions of the Self as both the initiator of growth and the endpoint, or we can say, the motivator as well as the goal of individuation, also were vague enough to leave much to speculation.

In order to grasp Jung’s intentions, we have to accept his image of himself as an empiricist—one who deals with observable facts, rather than a metaphysician—one who deals with unseen, non-physical subjects. He insisted that he was not talking about supernatural phenomena, the nature of God, or religion. Nor did he claim to be a theologian. If he spoke of God, it was the image of God found in the minds of his subjects of observation. He spoke of the “reality of the psyche.” What does that mean?

From the beginning of time humans have described their images of the literal or observable world and also of imaginal or spiritual worlds. Though a spiritual world can never be proven by reason, the human psyche persists in imaging and conceiving of a world beyond its concrete experience. Many think of that world as infinite, despite the fact that we have no way of conceiving of infinity through experience. We can only understand infinity by its absence from our experience, through our imagination. This consistent experience of trusting something beyond the senses, of transcending mere physical experience in our imagination, despite the absence of “actual” confirmation, is what Jung called the “reality of the psyche.”

If you have a “mathematical mind,” you are attracted to certain abstract notions, like the notion of infinity, or principles of ordering of numbers by formula. Mathematics is founded on a belief in the regularity of truth. As mathematics becomes advanced, it works in a world of symbols whose meanings are obscure to non-mathematicians, but are real enough to be discovered, repeated, and related in some deep way to the working of the material world. This is the “reality of numbers.”

For a physicist, reality is more than meets the senses. We live in a world of such complexity, only available to us through the imagination. The typical illustration of this complexity of ordinary objects from the standpoint of subatomic particles in constant motion is often presented as considering a physical object as resembling “a bowl of jello.” (Bartusiak, Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony, p. 146.)

Similarly, if you have a “psychological mind,” you are attracted to abstract notions of the landscape of the psyche/soul. “Psychology” from the Greek, means “the study of soul.” Yet these days, some scientists may not tolerate the use of the word “soul” as the subject of psychology, and the more acceptable word is “mind.” But we cannot refer to “mind” in the same way psychologists did years ago when the “mind” was considered fairly well differentiated from the body. Neither can we limit “mind” to brain substance. Now we think of “mind” as a complex function that includes networks of information from inside (nerve messages, chemicals carried in the bloodstream, et cetera) and outside of the body (visual and auditory sources of information, stimuli, conditioning, et cetera).

To further complicate the study of mind, the subject, the mind, is also the student! This creates weird loops, paradoxes, and resonances within the being of the psychologist that can be dizzying! Looking at ourselves, we look into a hall of mirrors.

We are tantalized by trying to find the “I” that does the looking. We call that “I” the ego, but we come to see that the ego is not the only “eye” in the psyche. Depth psychology sees that the ego revolves around a point that is both in it and around it. The ego revolves around the Self as the earth revolves around the sun. How can that be understood?

We can observe ourselves and our mirror-minds and souls through many lenses. From the lens of particle physics we explore the elements of consciousness at the microscopic level, dissecting and stimulating the brain. This is a valuable and necessary investigation in understanding our world, but it has no practical application for a parent, a baseball player, or a therapist at this stage of knowledge. There is no way we can apply what we learn about brain cells from the microscope, no matter how interesting, to living life in the moment.

We can explore consciousness through a larger lens which studies how the brain and bodily systems produce our abstract concepts, such as a consistent sense of self. This research we can apply on an individual basis to help us understand our behavior, but it is generally out of our hands as far as helping us make decisions or accepting responsibility. For example, we may see how the brain’s amygdala communicates with its prefrontal cortex, and how that affects our decision-making processes. That may be helpful in understanding the effect of a brain injury or drug incident, but that is not especially useful in an urgent instant of decision making.

A wider lens looks at the interactions of that self with society and its place in the human system. Here we begin to assert an aspect of freedom of choice. As creatures that have an impact on other creatures, we make decisions that can be examined and judged. We may have limited choices of behavior—not total free will, but we have some choice.

An even wider lens, the lens of depth psychology, attempts to abstract farther into human consciousness as it affects and is affected by movement in the universe that reaches beyond our present day human society, into history, culture, and religion.

In the words of Jung:
All our knowledge consists of stuff of the psyche—which, because it alone is immediate, is superlatively real. Here, then, is a reality to which the psychologist can appeal—namely psychic reality…Psychic contents are derived from the “material” environment; as when I picture the car I want to buy. Others, no less real, seem to come from a “spiritual” source which appears to be very different from the physical environment, such as wondering about the state of the soul of my dead father. My fear of a ghost is a psychic image just as real to me as my fear of fire. We don’t try to account for our fear of either one by physical arguments, but we experience each of them as real… Unless we accept the reality of the psyche we try to explain our experiences in a way that does violence to many of them—those (experiences) expressed through superstition, religion, and philosophy. Truth that appeals to the testimony of the senses may satisfy reason, but it offers nothing that stirs our feelings and expresses them by giving a meaning to human life. (“Basic Postulates of Analytical Psychology,” CW 8, par. 680-686.)
We human beings have been portraying ourselves repeatedly in literature and myth as part animal, part angel; or as occupying the space between heaven and earth. From ancient to contemporary times, human thought has gravitated between what appears to be a duality: physical reality (phenomena, representations, matter) and an other-worldly reality of “forms” (noumena, ideals, essences, universals). The earliest philosophers, like Plato, could speak authoritatively of the soul, of immortality, infinity, of a world of “forms” or ideals. From them we learned to speak about “eternal truths”—the value of honesty, loyalty, bravery, justice—that they are in the mind; they cannot be demonstrated to result from logical facts. They are abstractions, but they are real values.

A famous lesson in the abstract value of honesty is Plato’s story of the Ring of Gyges, a ring that renders one invisible and leads its owner to utter selfishness. Gyges, a poor shepherd, unexpectedly comes upon the ring on a corpse and steals it. Realizing that it makes him invisible, he uses its power to take whatever he wants. He steals the king’s gold and even his wife, and becomes king. Plato uses this to illustrate “egoism,” a form of moral skepticism. Yet we recognize that another attitude is possible, an attitude that considers that Gyges could have chosen not to use his powers dishonestly. Perhaps he would not have achieved much, but he might have chosen to be honest. The story prompts us to reflect on the human tendency to pursue selfish goals rather than look at a more abstract value. An extreme of skepticism would be to say dismissively, “Honesty is just an abstract concept in the mind. It does not otherwise exist.”

If no one could see you, would you do good? Why, or why not?

Immanuel Kant concluded his Critique of Practical Reason (1788) with these memorable words: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

Becoming: An Introduction to Jung's Concept of Individuationir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=1926715128The previous article is from Deldon Anne McNeely's recently published book, Becoming. In chapter four of Becoming: An Introduction to Jung's Concept of Individuationir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=1926715128, McNeely takes you on a whirlwind tour, skimming through centuries of the history of philosophy as it broadly relates to psychology. Fasten your seatbelts if you choose to look into this historical context of Analytical Psychology.
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Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond, edited by Mark Winborn, brings together Jungian analysts and psychoanalysts from across the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Jung’s concept of participation mystique is used as a starting point for an in depth exploration of ‘shared realities’ in the analytic setting and beyond. The clinical, narrative, and theoretical discussions move through such related areas as: projective identification, negative coniunctio, reverie, intersubjectivity, the interactive field, phenomenology, neuroscience, the transferential chimera, shamanism, shared reality of place, borderland consciousness, and mystical participation. This unique collection of essays bridges theoretical orientations and includes some of the most original analytic writers of our time.

"Jung's use of the concept participation mystique has always struck me as among his most original ideas and I could vaguely intuit its relevance to many contemporary developments in psychoanalysis, from projective identification to intersubjectivity to the mysteries of transitional space. Now, thanks to the extraordinary essays in this book, one no longer has to "intuit" this relevance. It is spelled out in beautiful detail by writers with expertise in many facets of our field. The breadth of these essays is truly extraordinary. Reading them has enriched both my personal and professional life. I highly recommend this book."  -- Donald Kalsched, Ph.D. author of The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit (Routledge, 1996) and Trauma and the Soul: A Psycho-spiritual Approach to Human Development and its Interruption (Routledge, 2013).
* * * * *
"The concept of 'participation mystique' is one that is often considered a somewhat arcane notion disparagingly equated with an unconscious, undifferentiated or 'primitive' dynamic. This collection of outstanding articles from Jungian analysts of different theoretical perspectives and analysts from different schools of depth psychology redeems this concept and locates it as central to depth work, regardless of one’s theoretical orientation. What may seem like an ethereal notion becomes grounded when explored from the perspective of the clinical, the experiential and the theoretical. Linking participation mystique to the more clinical concepts of projective identification, unitary reality, empathy, the intersubjective field and the neurosciences and locating this dynamic in the field of the transference and counter-transference, brings this concept to life in a refreshingly clear and related manner. In addition, each author does so in a very personal manner.  "This book provides the reader with a wonderful example of amplification of participation mystique, linking many diverse threads and fibers to form an image, which, while it reveals its depth and usefulness, nevertheless maintains its sense of mystery. This book is a true delight for anyone intrigued by those “moments of meeting”, moments of awe, when the ineffable becomes manifest, when we feel the shiver down our spine, be it in our work or in a moment of grace as we sit quietly in nature. Shared Realities offers nourishment for the clinician, for the intellect and, most importantly, for the soul. I highly recommend it!  -- Tom Kelly - President, International Association for Analytical Psychology and Past-President, Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts.

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The Definitive Journey

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The hero who searches for new paths in his heart and soul often lets hints and hunches guide him forward. Yet, he also needs to be equipped with courage to search beyond the boundaries of common ground and with humbleness towards the unknown that lies ahead of him. He must also carry a bagful of questions and concerns, curiosity and conflict, doubt and fear; “Every man hath the right to doubt his task, and to forsake it from time to time; but what he must not do is forget it.” Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain, p. 53.

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Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey by Mark Winborn. Deep Blues explores the archetypal journey of the human psyche through an examination of the blues as a musical genre. The genesis, history, and thematic patterns of the blues are examined from an archetypal perspective and various analytic theories. Mythological and shamanistic parallels are used to provide a deeper understanding of the role of the bluesman, the blues performance, and the innate healing potential of the blues.  Read more . . .

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Go West Young Lady! Love – Sex – Naiveté – Family – Values – Commitment – Betrayal . . . Patricia Damery weaves a seductive tale about life’s insoluble contradictions. A Midwestern farm girl leaves the confines of her family heritage and is transformed by life’s vicissitudes. Snake stories, symbols of transformation, are cleverly intertwined in this highly entertaining novel as Angela, the heroine, undergoes numerous rights of passages, and comes to terms with life - her life – exactly where, when, and how it unfolds. Highly recommended, Snakes is deeply rooted in Mother Earth—and Soul. Read more . . .

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article by Dennis Merritt

One of Jung’s biggest challenges to modern men and women from an ecopsychological perspective is to unite our cultured side with what he called “the two million-year-old man within.” The “indigenous one within” is a person living in a sacred and symbolic relationship with nature, in a world where “we are all related”—the two-leggeds, four-leggeds, six-leggeds, etc. To understand Jung’s challenge, we begin by looking at our Western indigenous roots and the evolution of the Western worldview. Indigenous cultures, including our Celtic, Slavic and Teutonic ancestors, considered all elements of the cosmos to be spiritually alive and interrelated. Humans were seen as but one element humbly present in the grand scheme of things. (n 4) Our ancestors spoke of gods and goddesses and other beings in nature equal or superior to humans “such as giants and dwarves, elves and trolls, fairies, leprechauns, gnomes, satyrs, nymphs and mermaids,” Ralph Metzner notes. “These deities and beings could be communed with by anyone who was willing to practice the methods taught by the shamans and their successors the witches, the wise women of the woods—using magical plants and stones, chants and incantations, dances and rituals.” (Metzner 1993, p. 7)

Traditional cultures also tend to revere close relationships between people, making kinship and clan identities far more important than the individual person. Small groups allow easier connections and face-to-face interactions, facilitating democratic decision-making processes. In traditional cultures,
Reciprocity and belonging rule human interaction…Shared communal spaces and cooperatively tended land are…typical. The purpose of life is…to live in harmony with one’s group, honoring tradition and continuity with the ancestors, as well as the spiritual world, which provides for human needs. (Winter 1996, p. 53)
A radically different Western worldview has evolved over the last several hundred years, a worldview that to this point has been very successful in material terms. The scientific priesthood starting with Bacon (end of 16th century) arose to understand and control the natural world as a means of defending against nature’s threats. (Ryley 1988, p. 227) Newton and Descartes established the foundation of a mechanical view of a universe composed of inert, physical elements that gradually replaced the spiritual view which had until then been dominant in Western culture. A mechanistic, soulless natural world made it vulnerable to the extraction mentality wielded by Western engineering. (n 5)

John Locke (1632-1704) interpreted God’s command to subdue the earth to mean that man had to work the land to “improve it for the benefit of life,” justifying private land ownership to possess the “[necessary] materials to work on.” (Locke 1988, p. 290-292 quoted in Winter 1996, p. 40) (n 6) “[Calvinists] who helped settle America and promulgate the Industrial Revolution in England” thought of work as being a divine “calling” and “material rewards were signs of God’s blessings on labor well done.” (p. 44) (n 7) In our worldview,
No longer do we have primary moral or psychological responsibilities to the society (instead they are to our own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness); no longer is the most important purpose of our life to ensure our passage to heaven or to honor our ancestors; no longer is our essential identity based on our family or kin relationship. Instead, our lives are lived as individuals, competitive and separate, pursuing our own material wealth through the God-given rights of freedom and noninterference from the state. (Clark 1989, p. 268 referenced in Winter 1996, p. 43, 44) (n 8)
The Judeo-Christian tradition established a very different relationship with nature than that of our indigenous ancestors. The Hebrews condemned the followers of the Canaanite great goddess Astarte whose shrines were in wild places. (Metzner 1993, p. 7) Judaism lost the sense of other Near Eastern religions of “the harmonious integration of man’s life with the life of nature.” (Frankfort 1948, p. 342 quoted in Sessions 1991, p. 109) Christians worshipped a transcendent creator far above human affairs who couldn’t be communicated with directly and they “denied and denigrated the creative spiritual energies inherent in nature.” (Metzner 1993, p. 7) Christian belief in a special covenant with a transcendent Father deity “gives them a sense of a divine mission in the world and a spiritual destiny beyond that of other members of the created world,” prompting ecotheologian Thomas Berry to claim, “the ultimate basis of our ecological difficulties lies in the roots of our Christian spirituality” (n 9):
In the original Christian teaching there were rightly considered to be two scriptures: the scripture of the natural world, and the scripture of the Bible. Nature was seen originally as both created by the divine and as a primary self-presentation of the divine. (Ryley 1998, p. 224, 225) (n 10)
Church fathers demonized the many spirits and deities consulted by the Greeks and Romans known to them as daimones. (von Franz 1980 referenced in Metzner 1993, p. 7, 8) (n 11) So began the long and sordid Church history of demonizing and crushing what it perceived to be its opposition. It violently destroyed the early Gnostic Christian sects who taught rituals enabling ordinary men and women to commune directly with the divine. Many reform movements were popular within Christianity in the 12th century, such as the Cathars in Provence, France and the Knights Templar. The Church branded the adherents as heretics and launched inquisitions and internal crusades against them. Pagan witches became the focus of inquisitions in the 14th century, when the Church expanded the use of torture to extract confessions of being in league with the devil. Estimates are that between 2 to 9 million witches were tortured and burned over the next 300 years and their property confiscated. (p. 7, 8) The vast majority were women, originally known as the “wise women of the woods”:
[Many were] simple country women, some of whom were maintaining the herbal knowledge, especially as related to midwifery, contraception and abortion. Some were shamans who used hallucinogenic plants (particularly of the solanaceous or nightshade variety) to induce visionary experiences of shaman’s flight, referred to as flying through the air to witch’s Sabbath. (p. 8)
In the analysis of Ralph Metzner, the heart of the problem is a split between nature and spirit in Western consciousness. (Metzner 1993, p. 6) This philosophical split goes to the very root of Western philosophy beginning in ancient Greece. In Bertrand Russell’s opinion, “What is amiss even in the best philosophy after Democritus [i.e., after the pre-Socratics], is an undue emphasis on man as compared to the universe.” (Russell 1979, p. 90 quoted in Fox 1991b, p. 107) In The Illusion of Technique, William Barnett states:
The idea of nature has played a small part in contemporary philosophy. Bergson once remarked that most philosophers seem to philosophize as if they were sealed in the privacy of their study and did not live on a planet surrounded by the vast organic world of animals, plants, insects, and protozoa, with whom their own life is linked in a single history. (Barnett 1979, p. 363 quoted in Fox 1991b, p. 107)
Christian anthropocentric (human centered) theology had a strong influence on the leading philosophical spokesmen for the Scientific Revolution. Science and religion gradually evolved into a division of domains following a medieval transition:
The world of the creator, of spirit, of divinity, of transcendent realities and of moral concern, was the realm of religion, and science agreed to stay out of it. On the other hand the world of matter and forces which could be perceived through the senses and measured and manipulated was the realm of science, and the church gave the scientists free rein to develop their value-free, purpose-less, blind, yet totally deterministic, mechanistic conception of the universe. Thus the stage was set for a further and complete desacralization of the natural world, with the transcendent creator progressively marginalized, until we have the totally life-less, non-sentient, purpose-less world of the modern age. (Metzner 1993, p. 4, 5) (n 12)
The Protestant reformation eliminated “the last vestiges of pre-Christian European paganism” in the overlay of Christianity onto pagan sites and the practices that survived, especially in the cult of Mary. The Black Madonna was and is its most potent form; to this day it can be found in over 500 European churches. The Black Virgin cult is essentially a popular retention of the “ancient black goddesses such as Artemis, Cybele and particularly the Egyptian Isis.” (Begg 1985 referred to in Metzner 1993, p. 5) (n 13)

Freud cast the European split between spirit and nature in psychological terms, especially the Protestant version of the Christian myth where heaven or the spiritual realm is obtained by conquering the body and overcoming “our ‘lower’ animal instincts and passions.” The natural self includes bodily sensations, impulses, feelings and instincts. Freud denied the spiritual and transpersonal realms. For Freud, consciousness and culture is attained only by ego consciousness struggling “against the unconscious body-based, animal id,” the seething caldron of the unconscious full of constraints and distractions. In this view, there is an inevitable level of discontent in culture because of conflicted relationship with the natural in us, and by projection, with the natural world. (Metzner 1993, p. 6) (see Appendix A)

There were many crosscurrents which complicate the picture of a dualistic split in the dominant collective consciousness of the Europeans. Hildegard von Bingen, an 11th century Rhineland Benedictine abbess, “spoke of viriditas—the greenness, as the creative power of God manifest throughout the creation.” For her, “‘The soul is in the body the way the sap is in the tree’—in other words, the soul nourishes and sustains the body, instead of having to rise above it or struggle against it.” (Metzner 1993, p. 7) “The greatest spiritual revolutionary in Western history,” St. Francis of Assisi, “tried to depose man from his monarchy over creation and set up a democracy of all God’s creatures.” (White 1967/1971, p. 6 quoted in Sessions 1991, p. 110) The sophisticated philosophy of the 17th century Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, has a modern ecological base with a spirituality some compare to Zen Buddhism. Spinoza drew upon ancient Jewish pantheistic roots in an attempt “to resanctify the world by identifying God with Nature”—human and nonhuman. He found mind (or mental attributes) throughout nature and used the developing science of the time to help him attain spiritual self-realization and deepen an appreciation of nature. His pantheism influenced “some of the leading figures of the eighteenth–century European Romantic movement (the main Western counter cultural force speaking on behalf of nature and against the uncritical and unbridled enthusiasm for the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions).” Spinoza also influenced the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess (father of the “deep ecology” movement), and Albert Einstein. (p. 112) Calling himself a “disciple of Spinoza,” Einstein expressed his admiration as well for Saint Francis and upheld “cosmic religious feeling” as the highest form of religious life. (Einstein 1942, p. 14 quoted in Sessions 1991, p. 110)

Spirituality associated with the natural world did not begin to remerge in Christianity until the Romantic Movement in the eighteenth century. (Ryley 1998, p. 228, 229) The English Romantic visionary poet and painter William Blake wrote: “the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul, is to be expunged.” Blake believed the Church’s forceful presentation of an abstract mental deity had ruined our abilities to directly perceive spirits everywhere—in nature, places and in cities and towns. (Metzner 1993, p. 7) (see Appendix B: William Blake and the English Romantics)

Notes and Bibliography

The article you just finished reading is an excerpt from Dennis Merritt's:

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The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe
Jung, Hermes and Ecopsychology in Four Volumes
We keep forgetting that we are primates and that we have to make allowances for these primitive layers in our psyche. The farmer is still closer to these layers. In tilling the earth he moves around within a very narrow radius, but he moves on his own land. —C.G. Jung

 Volume I:  Jung and Ecopsychologyir?t=fkp-dpa-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=192671542X presents the main premises of Jungian ecopsychology,offers some of Jung’s best ecopsychological quotes, and provides a brief overview of the evolution of our dysfunctional Western relationship with the environment. 
—ISBN 978192671542 Available December 2011

Volume II:  The Cry of Merlin—Jung, the Prototypical Ecopsychologistir?t=fkp-dpa-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=1926715438makes the basic premises of Jungian ecopsychology more convincing and understandable by illustrating how they evolved out of Jung’s lived experience. 
—ISBN 9781926715438 Available April 2012


Volume III:  Hermes and the Cows—Hermes, Ecopsychology and Complexity is an exegesis of the myth of Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle to be used as a mythic foundation for Jungian ecopsychology with Hermes' wand as its symbol. 
—ISBN 9781926715445 Available Sept 2012

Volume IV: An Archetypal View of the Land, the Seasons, and the Planet of the Insect explores the environment, with the Midwest as an example, using traditional Jungian and Hillmanian approaches to deepen our connection with the land, the seasons, and insects. The Dalai Lama said how we relate to insects is very important for it reveals much about a culture’s relationship with the psyche and nature. 
—ISBN 9781926715452 Available December 2012


Dennis Merritt, Ph.D., LCSW, is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Merritt is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich and also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies have strongly influenced his worldview.


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Inextricably enmeshed in the life of every woman is a constellation of autonomous energy that Jung called animus, her masculine side. As a woman develops psychologically, animus changes, appearing and reappearing as child or adult, lover or enemy, king or slave, animal or spirit. . . read more

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The Promiscuity Papers  $12.95 – Now Shipping - “The founding myth of psychoanalysis is revisited in The Promiscuity Papers with special attention being paid to the correlation between archetypal promiscuity and incest. The particular concern of the author, Matjaž Regovec, is to reveal how insights from these archetypal themes shed light on the difficulties encountered by a patient in his analytical practice. . .”  —Ann Casement,  read more

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Toni Wolff Revisitedir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=1926715314 - Shipping Soon! - Mary Dian Molton & Lucy Anne Sikes Toni Wolff was at first the patient, and later the friend, mistress for a time, long-term colleague and personal analyst of Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung. In addition to her work as the founder, leader and teacher for the Psychological Society in Zurich which led to the establishment . . . read more

Logos vs Erosir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0981034403: Should Manhood be Continued? by Bud HarrisThe idea that male energy could be good has come to be considered impossible. Yet all the great cultures have lived with images of this energy.  —Robert BlyRecent years have brought a growing emphasis on the concept of androgyny. Are men and women basically alike underneath it all? If they are, should we strive for an androgynous plateau after doing away with cultural sex roles?  . . . read more
Threshold Experiencesir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0944187994 - Michael Conforti "In the beginning", so goes many a great story. These familiar words beckon us across a threshold, often transporting us into unknown worlds and novel experiences. So too our lives are filled with many such "beginnings" -- new jobs, relationships, adventures, and even the inception of life itself. Each of these "threshold experiences" not only introduces us to new domains, but also draws us into the realities of archetypal . . . read more
Fiction: A Portal to the Sacred by Phyllis LaPlanteir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0981393918 Here is a modest proposal to help us better understand our patients and ourselves . . . read moreFisher King Press Title List Jan 2011 . . . read more

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.
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Threshold Experiences

Now available from Fisher King Press

Threshold Experiences: The Archetype of BeginningsThreshold Experiencesir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=bil&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0944187994
The Archetype of Beginnings
by Michael Conforti, PhD

This seminal volume represents the foundation of Michael Conforti's 25 year pioneering exploration of the confluence of psyche and matter.

"In the beginning", so goes many a great story. These familiar words beckon us across a threshold, often transporting us into unknown worlds and novel experiences. So too our lives are filled with many such "beginnings" -- new jobs, relationships, adventures, and even the inception of life itself. Each of these "threshold experiences" not only introduces us to new domains, but also draws us into the realities of archetypal fields. Learning to creatively interact with these prefigured, a priori fields can allow us rich access to sources of eternal wisdom.

Jungian analyst Michael Conforti's examination of the initial clinical interview as a "threshold experience" shows that the same archetypal processes responsible for the generation of life itself also shape patient-therapist relationships, creating fascinating, highly patterned dynamics. These powerful fields structure events so that core issues in clients', and often even therapists', lives are re-enacted in the therapeutic setting with remarkable fidelity to the archetypal field within which each is embedded. Conforti's deft weaving together of psychological and scientific theory, dream analysis, and clinical vignettes elucidates the ways that the psyche entrains both client and therapist into a synchronized pattern. An understanding of the role of the Self in this process reveals the profound meaning and purpose that can be gleaned from careful attention to the communications occurring during the early phase of the therapeutic dialogue.

Drawing from the fields of jungian psychology, biology, quantum physics, and the new sciences, the author provides a unique lens for viewing the central archetypal dynamics operating within an individual life. His findings demonstrate how past experiences not only shape the initial stages of therapy, but also allow us to understand the future trajectory of treatment. This important study confirms C.G. Jung's assertion of the need for an interdisciplinary perspective if we are to truly comprehend the workings of the psyche.

Michael Conforti, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of matterpsyche studies, is a practicing Jungian Analyst. An international consultant and lecturer. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich, as well as in Canada, Venezuela, the Caribbean, Denmark, and Italy. He works with individuals, organizations, and businesses, including the film industry, to identify and understand the role of the archetypal patterns underlying human behavior. Dr. Conforti is the Founder and President of the Assisi Institute for the Study of Archetypal Pattern Analysis, and the author of Field, Form, and Fate: Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche
fkplogo110x100.jpg?width=110Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives, Cutting Edge Fiction, and a growing list of alternative titles. Learn more at www.fisherkingpress.com
  • We Ship Worldwide.
  • Credit Cards Accepted.
  • Phone Orders Welcomed. Toll free in the US & Canada: 1-800-228-9316 International +1-831-238-7799 skype: fisher_king_press
Read more…
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DM_C1.jpg?width=216

Now Available from Fisher King Press

Divine Madness: Archetypes of Romantic Love
By John R. Haule
ISBN 978-1-926715-04-9, 292pp Index, Biblio, 2010

Divine Madness: Archetypes of Romantic Love examines the transforming experience of romantic love in literature, myth, religion, and everyday life. A series of psychological meditations on the nature of romantic love and human relationship, Divine Madness takes the perspective that human love is a species of divine love and that our experience of romantic love both conceals and reveals the ultimate Lover and Beloved. John Haule draws on depth psychology, the mystical traditions of the world, and literature from Virgil to Milan Kundera to lead the reader inside the mind and heart of the lover.

Each chapter explores a characteristic aspect of relationship, such as seduction and love play, the rapture of union, the agony of separation, madness, woundedness, and transcendence. Focusing on the soulful and spiritual meaning of these experiences, Divine Madness sheds light on our elations, obsessions, and broken hearts, but it also reconnects us with the wisdom of time immemorial.

As a practicing Jungian analyst and former professor of religious studies, John Haule masterfully guides his readers through the labyrinth of everyday experience, and the often hidden layers of archetypal realities, sketching a philosophy of romantic love through the stories of the world's literature and mythology.

About the Author
John Ryan Haule holds a doctorate in religious studies from Temple University. He is a Jungian analyst trained in Zurich and is a faculty member of the C.G. Jung Institute-Boston.

Place your order for Divine Madness: Archetypes of Romantic Love at the Fisher King Press online Bookstore.

Also available from the Pacifica Graduate Institute Bookstore
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Fisher King Press / PO Box 222321 / Carmel, CA 93922 /
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Oct 1, 2010


With great pleasure, Fisher King Press is pleased to announce the publication of

9781926715124.jpg
By Deldon Anne McNeely
ISBN 9781926715124, 230pp, Index, Biblio, (Oct 2010)
Download a free PDF sampler of Becoming

Becoming: An Introduction to Jung’s Concept of Individuation ir?t=wwwmalcolmclc-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=1926715128explores the ideas of Carl Gustav Jung. His idea of a process called individuation has sustained Deldon Anne McNeely’s dedication to a lifelong work of psychoanalysis, which unfortunately has been dismissed by the current trends in psychology and psychiatry.

Psychotherapists know the value of Jung’s approach through clinical results, that is, watching people enlarge their consciousness and change their attitudes and behavior, transforming their suffering into psychological well-being. However, psychology’s fascination with behavioral techniques, made necessary by financial concerns and promoted by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, has changed the nature of psychotherapy and has attempted to dismiss the wisdom of Jung and other pioneers of the territory of the unconscious mind.

For a combination of unfortunate circumstances, many of the younger generation, including college and medical students, are deprived of fully understanding their own minds. Those with a scientific bent are sometimes turned away from self-reflection by the suggestion that unconscious processes are metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. Superficial assessments of Jung have led to the incorrect conclusion that one must be a spiritual seeker, or religious, in order to follow Jung’s ideas about personality. Becoming is an offering to correct these misperceptions.

Many university professors are not allowed to teach Jungian psychology. Secular humanism and positivism have shaped the academic worldview; therefore, investigation into the unknown or unfamiliar dimensions of human experience is not valued. But this attitude contrasts with the positive reputation Jung enjoys among therapists, artists of all types, and philosophers. Those without resistance to the unconscious because of their creativity, open-mindedness, or personal disposition are more likely to receive Jung’s explorations without prejudice or ideological resistance. There is a lively conversation going on about Jung’s ideas in journals and conferences among diverse groups of thinkers which does not reach mainstream psychology. Becoming is for those whose minds are receptive to the unknown, and to help some of us to think—more with respect than dread—of the possibility that we act unconsciously.


About the Author
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 Touching: Body Therapy and Depth Psychology; Animus Aeternus: Exploring the Inner Masculine; and Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods.


Also available from the Pacifica Graduate Institute Bookstore!
Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted. 1-800-228-9316 toll free in the US and Canada, International +1-831-238-7799. www.fisherkingpress.com

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