This Jungian Life

By Deborah Stewart, Lisa Marchiano, Joseph Lee

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Reviews: 2


 Sep 27, 2021
Great Jungian oriented podcast.


 Oct 29, 2019

Description

Eavesdrop on three Jungian analysts as they engage in lively, sometimes irreverent conversations about a wide range of topics. Join them for discussion of news events, family dynamics, personal issues and more as they share what it’s like to see the world through the depth psychological lens provided by CG Jung. Half of each episode is spent discussing a dream submitted by a listener. Lisa, Joseph and Deb went through their Jungian training together, becoming friends and developing working partnerships. Now they are engaged in a new creative venture with a spirit of adventure and hope you will join them.

Episode Date
Episode 190 - Falling in Love: Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered
57:43

Jung says, “Love is a power of destiny, whose force reaches from heaven to hell.” Falling in love is an initiation into the divine—light, and dark—as personal and archetypal forces combine and combust. In thrall to the magical other through whom we experience newfound parts of ourselves, we fall into a reality that transcends and possesses us.

Ardor takes us by surprise and opens us fiercely and intimately to our inner world, exposing us to ourselves. Passion must pass, whether it leads to commitment and partnership or casts us into disillusion and heartbreak. We need to know and grow a capacity for loving that makes us more whole and more able to love the other in another. We shall become kinder and wiser…and bow to the excitement and aliveness of falling in love. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am looking at myself in a mirror in my waking-life bathroom. I lean close and notice that my two upper front teeth appear to be loose and crooked. I touch one, and it skews out of alignment. I panic! I try to realign the tooth, and it falls out with a gush of blood. I touch my other tooth, and it too falls out. I hold the teeth in shaking hands as I try to fit them back in place. They won’t stay in. I am horrified and unable to do anything. The teeth seem to grow larger in my hands, looking more like an animal tooth--like a sealion canine tooth I have in my waking life. I wake suddenly with the intense urge to check my teeth to make sure they are still there and okay.”

REFERENCES:

Aldo Carotenuto. Eros & Pathos: Shades of Love & Suffering

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123392/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PEWYNA6PB0E8W9BB1KXP

Jan Bauer. Impossible Love: Why the Heart Must Go Wrong.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626549737/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Y5THBGJ83K0VX5EF1Z3E

James Hollis. The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123805/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_06AWPRX8XXFMZG097EXR

John Haule. Divine Madness: Archetypes of Romantic Love. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0877734836/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_7645741FXE5PM5J721AJ

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Nov 25, 2021
Episode 189 - A Well-Aligned Mind: How to Be Alive
56:25

Guest Iain McGilchrist is a renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and author. His 2009 book, The Master and His Emissary gained worldwide fame for showing how differences between brain hemispheres affect our perceptions - and guide our lives. Each hemisphere has a radically different ‘take’ on the world: the left sees what is in the theater spotlight, whereas the right hemisphere understands the whole play.

Both are part of the theater of our lives, but the narrowly focused left hemisphere has increasingly taken over in the modern world. The right hemisphere offers a more spacious perspective: connectedness, complexity, and creativity - and has a direct and demonstrable effect on physical and mental well-being. Jung says, “One must never look to the things that ought to change. The main question is how we change ourselves.” McGilchrist shows us how: paying attention to what we are paying attention to reintroduces us to who we are - and aliveness. 

REFERENCES:

A 10,000 essay and summary of McGilchrist’s ideas is available free on Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008JE7I2M/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_8QPW3VT6QMZQ08C7VK9T 

Iain McGilchrist: The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World. Kindle Edition only. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KY5B3QL/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_RP260867DNVHG84JYANK 

Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World https://www.amazon.com/dp/0300245920/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_7JP0MQCZ71W0PJ5HGVM4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Nov 18, 2021
Episode 188 - Humanizing the Hero
01:12:14

Mythological heroes defend, protect and quest. They range from warriors, adventurers, and saviors to magicians, loners, and rebels, but one way or another, they battle bad for the sake of good. They have courage, skill, and strength, but never a troubling moment. Although we still delight in heroes with might and shine, modern times have given rise to a new ideal: the everyday hero.

From Harriet Tubman to Anne Frank and Frodo Baggins to Huckleberry Finn, these are heroes of happenstance. Circumstances demanded more of them, and they accepted the challenge to surmount loss, accept uncertainty, and take principled action even in a crisis. Unlike mythical heroes, everyday heroes struggle—and living fully into a larger purpose serves their personal development. Recent history has humanized the archetype of the hero and brought it down to earth. The new myth is about every man’s heroic energy for individuation and meaning. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“It’s a bright clear day, and I’m in a forest. I’m walking around when I spot these hybrid creatures, both boar and human, or humans wearing boar heads as helmets. They are absolutely terrifying, and I try to hide from them in the brush. I watch them. Suddenly, one veers off from the rest and leans over and defecates or vomits from its chest. It’s violent and disgusting. The creature seems weakened, sick. Then I’m walking again, trying to get away from the creatures, but they spot me-- at least one of them does. I am not afraid now and assume we will fight. There’s a group of swords on the ground--more like big serrated knives--, and I pick one up. The creature and I duel, and I cut it several times. I’m confident in my victory, but then I’m nicked on the face. I’m worried about this; maybe it’s worse than I know. Then the dream jumps, and I’m in a dark bathroom examining the cut in the mirror. It’s a scratch. The boar creature is here with me, but she’s a beautiful brunette woman, and it’s clear we’re lovers. The feeling now is very light and romantic and easy.” 

REFERENCES:

Robert Hayden poem: Those Winter Sundays

Leonard Cohen song: Joan of Arc

James Hollis. Mythologems: Incarnations of the Invisible World. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1894574109/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_94JC2C9MJ644DRC9X76Q

C.G. Jung. The Red Book. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393065677/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_HRQR02F9ATSSCXRAM8PA

Ernest Becker. The Denial of Death. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0684832402/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_ZDVC08FKDFDW7SS6QE5X

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Nov 11, 2021
Episode 187 - The Fiery Furnace of Ambition
01:08:58

Ambition is a fire whose flames first rise in the first half of life when hopes and dreams are fueled by possibilities in the external world. It takes creative audacity to seize a dream, develop a talent, or commit to a calling. Ambition can also be fueled by narcissism, power-seeking, or striving to overcome inadequacy.

Too much fire can consume and corrupt us; insufficient heat forsakes potential for flickering fantasies. Jungian scholar and author James Hillman writes that each of us has an innate blueprint for becoming in The Soul’s Code. Ambition can best be the discovery of our authentic purpose in the world, a combination of character and call that provides the heat needed to find and pursue our destiny. Integrity is the true source of energy for pursuing a goal, persevering in its attainment, and allowing desire for distinction in the external world to serve development in the inner world.  

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am in a contest to kill a baby by throwing a ball at it. I have to stand on a lawn chair while I throw the ball. I am moving the chair here and there, trying to get the right angle. The baby is very far away, hard to see. Many people are watching me, some rooting for me, some against me. Then someone brings the baby much closer because of some new rule. But now I can see its features. “It's harder to kill a baby when you can see its features!" I cry. I consider quitting the contest. But finally, I do throw the ball - and miss. Everyone is disappointed. I was neither noble (by quitting) nor powerful (by winning).” 

REFERENCE:

James Hillman. The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character & Calling. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0399180141/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_5YHDGK5T26N1FH5T4RD1

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Nov 04, 2021
Episode 186 - The Archetype of the Witch: Dangerous, Denied & Dishonored
01:25:47

It’s witching season, the time when women of all ages embrace a mythical image of unfettered feminine power. The witch may cast spells, seek vengeance, or wreak creative havoc—as she pleases. Flying the night skies of psyche, the witch brings primordial realities into culture’s brittle convictions.

Like all aspects of the collective unconscious, the witch lays low when times are fine but rises when times are tense. Her archetypal power then infects humankind, inciting mass hysteria and the horrors of persecutory epidemics. The witch symbolizes our fear and vulnerability to the Great Mother in her dark, heartless aspect--and her power remains. Jung says, “On a primitive level, people are afraid of witches; on the modern level, we are apprehensively afraid of microbes.” If we can face the witch and acknowledge her power to depose ego and order, we can also face our choices and the freedom to make them. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“My family has rented a house in an affluent area of my city for a celebration. I borrow my dad’s keys afterward to get something out of the car before planning to return quickly to the house. I’m wearing a yarmulke for the occasion. On my way back, I step onto a concrete block overlooking an SUV with an alarm going off. Despite there being a man in the car, a plainclothes policeman approaches me to say I’m being taken in for questioning because the car was stolen. The police officer refuses to let me call my father to tell him what happened. I am questioned by two officers, now in their uniforms, at the back of a luxurious synagogue. I am outraged and trying to profess my innocence with confidence, but my body and voice are shaking. The other officer lets me call my dad, who speaks in a gentle voice with sadness and almost disappointment. Then I am brought to a university-type study room to be questioned by a group of teen police officers, some of whom I recognize as people I went to high school with. On the way to this room, I see a friend and explain what is happening, but she seems apathetic and keeps walking. In the room, the teen police group is being irreverent and making jokes and creating distractions, looking at their phones, playing games, not listening to my expressions of anger and fear. At the end of the dream, Amy Winehouse appears in the room, and we all sing her song “Love is Blind.” I strain my voice to sing loudly and distinctly.”

 REFERENCES:

Erich Neumann, Fear of the Feminine, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691034737/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_S0QDMDBFG7FN0ECGSZD1

Geoff Shullenberger, “Karen” and the Maenads, Outsider Theory, https://outsidertheory.com/karen-and-the-maenads

Madeline Miller, Circe. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316556327/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_KVNV5H79CCQ8HDHFVSR0

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Oct 28, 2021
Episode 185 - Assessing Our Psychic Inheritance
01:04:15

Jung said of the parent-child relationship: “Nothing exerts a stronger psychic effect upon the human environment, and especially upon children, than the life which the parents have not lived.” Jung understood that parents could unconsciously compel children to fulfill parental dreams or compensate for disappointments. Parental shadow creates an urgency to purge, perfect, or prolong a psychic legacy. It may manifest by taking on a parental aspiration, making up for a parental deficit, rebelling against parental constraints, or being subsumed by parental dictates. When personal libido is tied to parental needs, energy for life is hijacked by anxiety, ambivalence, and ambiguity - and it is up to us to reckon with it. If we do the work of differentiating from our parents, we discover ourselves. By doing so, we may truly redeem them and free ourselves. We serve life best by claiming it. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am in what seems to be a decrepit apartment building, and I get the sense that the rooms of the building are interconnected and continuous. There are emaciated animals roaming the rooms, and there are two figures aside from myself: a large grotesque man sitting at a dining table and a tired-looking baker. The grotesque man seems to demand food and the baker brings him cake and other food. The large man begins eating like an animal, with his bare hands, throwing scraps behind, resulting in the animals fighting over them. In a climax, from the door leading to the other rooms, I can hear the sounds of hundreds of footsteps and the screams of children running toward the door into the room. The dream ends just as hundreds of hands begin to pass the threshold of the door.”

REFERENCES:

 Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0143133586/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Y8GCS800QBTD9A8Z3DRE

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Oct 21, 2021
Episode 184 - Does Analysis Work? A Conversation with Jonathan Shedler, PhD
01:42:26

“Talk is powerful medicine.” Renowned researcher and clinician Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D., joins us to discuss the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy. While so-called evidence-based therapies—brief treatments conducted by instruction manuals—offer benefits for some, their status as the “gold standard” of treatment for mental distress is undeserved.

Dr. Shedler’s 2010 paper, “The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy,” is the most widely read psychoanalytic paper of our time. It’s been downloaded more than a quarter of a million times and has been cited by thousands. He discusses this influential work with us, including the finding that those who engage in psychodynamic psychotherapy not only improve by the end of treatment but continue to make gains even years after therapy is finished. According to Shedler, “psychodynamic therapy sets in motion psychological processes that lead to ongoing change, even after therapy has ended.” Jung tells us that we don’t solve our problems so much as grow larger than them. There is good empirical evidence that psychodynamic psychotherapy does indeed help us to grow. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am in a snowy place with my mom. We are leaving one chalet to go to a different one to meet up with other family members. While packing up to leave, I am preoccupied with a lost sweater. My mom is angry at me for wasting time. I love the sweater; it’s beautiful, and I wanted it for a long time before I got it. I gradually accept that the sweater is now gone, but I’m really sad about it. Then we get into the car. We are both in the back seat of the car talking to each other, and it takes a few minutes before we realize that the car is driving itself. I am not bothered by this; I seem to intuit that the car will take us to the right place, or at least that it knows where it’s going. But my mom is once again angry at me for not driving it. I cannot drive it because my leg is injured. It is this anger--as she realizes that I’m not driving the car--that seems to make the car stop, and then we are stranded in the middle of the road.”

RESOURCES:

Dr. Shedler’s website

Seven Principles of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (video)

That was then, this is now: An introduction to contemporary psychodynamic therapy

The tyranny of time: How long does effective therapy really take? 

The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Follow Dr. Shedler on Twitter

Learn to analyze your dreams at Dream School

Oct 14, 2021
Episode 183 - JUSTICE: The Struggle for Balance
01:08:59

Principles of fairness and justice have deep roots in the human psyche: we want to receive our fair share and a fair shake. When man injures man, we may protest, strive for redress, and measure wrong with morality—but what about godly misfortunes? Life, myth, and religion are rich with issues of injustice. Whether personal injury, social inequality, or divine mystery, over-insistence on fairness can lead to depression, resentment, and fixation.

Instead, we must distinguish injustice from loss, recognize what can and cannot be changed, and orient to the future. Imprisoned in a concentration camp, Viktor Frankl later wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.” 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

 “I stood opposite my husband as he told me he’d found somewhere else to live, and with a mystery woman. I paced around; we were in a busy place. I reached for my phone, unsure whom to phone or text. I felt panic as I realized I wasn’t sure who I could rely on, aware of a sense of burden. I didn’t have a job yet; how would I support myself and our children? In the dream, I was aware there was a separation that felt as if I had instigated it in order for him to realize our marriage was worth saving. However, him moving on so swiftly made me feel as if I’d made a huge mistake. As I returned home, my neighbor invited me to a cafe to talk. I felt hungry, and junk food was placed in front of me. She wanted the gossip. I felt the urge to share but knew everyone would soon know about my husband leaving.” 

REFERENCE:

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006IU470/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_8Q0BT8KHK0WD6CCPAHWJ

 RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Link to Lisa’s lecture and workshop October 15-16, 2021: https://ofj.org/event/another-whom-we-do-not-know-dreams-as-the-voice-of-the-inner-companion/

Oct 07, 2021
Episode 182 - Confronting Shadow: The Work of Self-Discovery
01:19:16

Psychotherapy is essentially the work of making shadow conscious—all that we have not discerned then disowned, or projected onto others. We seldom welcome shadow, for it is marked by emotions and motivations that deflate, disturb, and dethrone ego. From family scuffles to political hostilities and outright war, we most often meet our shadow in others. Its presence is signaled by a strong urge to take action, with feelings ranging from judgment to antagonism, from pity to self-sacrifice, and from obsession to disgust. If we have the courage to face and relate to the inner world of another, we experience and expand our own inner world. Shadow is the dark doorway to renewal and development, creativity and compassion. Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am in the backyard of my grandparents’ house. It’s night and very dark out, and I can see the lights on in the house. I have a bird feather in my hand that is luminescent with green and purple. I stick it in the ground, and a bird appears—a dove, I think. It flies away, and I stick the feather in the ground a second time. Another bird appears and flies away. I do it a third time, but this time I take a feather from the bird that appears and replant it in the same spot. When I do this, the ground trembles. Something big is happening, and I’ve started something I can’t stop. The third bird flies back to me and tells me to find a swan to make something called svala. Then I’m at some sort of school party, like a reunion or homecoming. I see an Indian woman I knew and used to be friends with. We haven’t seen each other in a long time and are no longer close, but I think she might know the meaning of svala and how I am supposed to make it, and what it will do. I keep trying to talk to her, but things keep getting in the way. Finally, she invites me to her room. There is beautiful music playing in the background, and her room is full of soft, golden light. I tell her about the dream with the feather and needing a swan to make svala and that I don’t know what it’s about. She laughs and says, “What is a swan but transformation? The hardest part in making svala is finding the swan.”

 REFERENCES:

Swamplands of Soul: New Life in Dismal Places by James Hollis. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123740/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_GNTQ1XCB9YT354TFFPDS

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Link to Lisa’s lecture and workshop: https://ofj.org/event/another-whom-we-do-not-know-dreams-as-the-voice-of-the-inner-companion/

Sep 30, 2021
Episode 181 - Self-Reflection: What Was I Thinking?
57:38

Jung says, “There is another instinct, different from the drive to activity and so far as we know specifically human, which might be called the reflective instinct.” Self-reflection is correlated with consciousness and is arguably humankind’s unique and essential competency: a meta-cognitive capacity that is aware of its own awareness.

If this is lacking, we may share the fate of Narcissus, who fell in love with his image, mirrored in silvery water--but every time he sought an embrace, his loved one retreated. Because he was unable to reflect on his reflection, Narcissus wasted away from psychic starvation. Many of today’s cultural forces make image supreme and tempt us to identify with reflections and appearances. Instead, we can choose to turn inward and observe ourselves, using consciousness to unite outer and inner worlds, feeling, and thinking. Only seeing into ourselves can clarify motivation, make meaning conscious, and bring our scattered parts into harmony and wholeness. 

HERE’S THE DREAM WE ANALYZE:

“I had a dream that I was in a half-abandoned house; it looked old and needed to be renovated. It was spacious with many rooms and corridors. My younger son, four years old, was by my side. He was occupied with something, and I was getting frustrated as I needed to go to the toilet to relieve myself (to do #2). I was getting frustrated as he wasn’t listening, and my urge was becoming greater. I left him behind and started looking for a toilet. I was entering some rooms, and they looked like abandoned, old, destroyed, non-functioning toilets. I realized that I can’t take it any longer, so I decided that the next door I open, I will relieve myself. I opened the door and the room looked disgusting: some feces were just on the floor. I don’t remember seeing an actual toilet; everything looked as if it was abandoned many years ago (e.g., paint peeled off the walls, dust). I stepped into some shit, and somehow it landed on my cheek (I didn’t feel too disgusted but more annoyed, as I just needed to receive myself.  I felt “I can’t hold it any longer,” as I started to squat, about to relieve myself. The floor collapsed, and I started to fall down. I had to grab onto something with my hands and to pull myself…and woke up (feeling a bit scared).” 

 REFERENCES:

Classical Tales of Mythology: Heroes, Gods and Monsters of Ancient Rome and Greece by Thomas Bulfinch

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1839406631/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PJKRPY1X5QCMHDNHZQJ8

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Lisa will be giving a zoom presentation on dreams for Oregon Friends of Jung on October 15. Link to sign up is here.

Sep 23, 2021
Episode 180 - INFLUENCE: Connection or Contagion?
01:01:51

We have always been subject to the influence of others—it’s how we learn language, become socialized, cooperate and collaborate. It’s also how we exclude, denigrate, and assault others. Today, we are subject to unprecedented social influences. Multiplicities of media shape our ideas, identities, beliefs, and values--and foster connections and communities around the world. If tulip mania took hold in 17th century Holland—perhaps the original speculative bubble--today we have non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrencies. “Heretics” are now exiled via “cancel culture.” Cultural contagions and psychic epidemics are not new—they just come dressed in the flashy new garb of social media and telecommunication. Amid so many influences, it is newly necessary to engage in the discernment and differentiation crucial to individuation, the fulfillment of our innate potential. Consciousness cannot be held hostage to intellectual simplifications or emotional reactivity. Each of us can uphold social norms that rest on foundations of fact, reflection, and spaciousness.   

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“It’s nighttime, and I’ve traveled to France with my immediate family and also a woman I’ve known who has a lot of money involved in the fashion industry. We arrive at where we are supposed to stay for the night-- a very run-down part of town. We come to a pink house with bars on the windows. My company, used to five-star accommodations, hesitatingly agrees to stay at these dodgy houses. The next scene: I’m in a twin bed, with my brother asleep in the twin bed next to mine. I know my parents are asleep in the room next to ours. All the lights are out, and it’s dark. A darkly figured shadow man enters the room, an intruder. I’m at once frightened and also intrigued. I gasp, and he notices I’m there and turns to leave. As he leaves, I ask, “who are you?” He turns for a moment from the door, and I feel his gaze. I’m overcome by a sense of longing for him and he leaves. My father enters the room moments later and tells me he saw him, too.”

 REFERENCES:

C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Volume 10: Wotan, pp. 179-193.

From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era, by Edward Shorter. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0029286670/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_SCTDD834KQH02VXCS5DY

 RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Sep 16, 2021
SHADOWLAND: Prostitution - the story of Kay
01:36:04

This is Shadowland, a new podcast experience from This Jungian Life that explores the lives of people who work and take refuge in the hidden places of our culture. Lisa, Deb, and Joseph collaborate with songwriter Wells Hanley, creator of I Wrote This Song For You podcast, to bring insight, compassion, and understanding to the darker side of human experience.

Nietzsche wrote, “I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”

In that spirit, we meet Kay, a 21-year-old single mother who works throughout the American southwest as a self-described prostitute. We explore how she found her way to that life, what she aspires to, and how she holds the complicated tensions between herself, her clients, and the current culture. 

Here’s Kay’s dream that we analyze:

“I am in a pet store with my best friend and my daughter, who is in a stroller. The woman proprietor went in the back. I saw an alligator in a cage eating a piglet and looked at my daughter’s stroller -- she wasn’t in there. Then I am somewhere running through halls trying to find her. I see a lot of kids about her age running around [but she isn’t among them]. I think she is in the ventilation system because she likes to crawl around. I tell someone to hide the weed that’s in my car so we can call the police.”

We shared this interview with Wells Hanley, who was moved to create a song for Kay. We hope you’ll be as touched by her story as we were. 

You can support Wells Hanley’s creative work by becoming his patron here: https://www.patreon.com/iwrotethissongforyou 

His website is here www.iwrotethissongforyou.com/

SONG: PART OF THE PLAY

music and lyrics by Wells Hanley © 2020.

 

I will listen 

receive you 

affirm you in every way 

And I will hold you 

but as I’ve told you 

it’s just part of the play 

 

I will undress you 

and then impress you 

we’ll make a game of predator and prey 

I’ll be unrestrained 

but as I’ve explained 

it’s just part of the play 

 

She is hiding in the walls 

she is watching through a screen 

She is frightened to come out 

so she lingers there unseen 

calling, “Mama, help me!” 

 

I’ll be your Echo 

a kind of mirror 

your missing Helen I am willing to portray 

And you may long to claim me 

but you’ll never tame me 

I’m too refined for that cliché 

You see, my heart is never part of the play 

 

See her high above the crowd 

see her fall into the cage 

See her flee into the walls 

as she steps onto the stage 

crying, “Mama, help me!” 

 

You call me princess 

tell me I’m beautiful 

I’m not immune to the things you say 

But when the curtain falls 

I walk these empty halls 

and even though I can never go, I can show you the way 

and I will swear that everything’s ok 

 

Hush little baby, don’t say a word 

about what you’ve seen or about what you’ve heard 

There’s a fat, hungry beast in need of a meal 

so don’t ever share 

no, don’t tell a soul what you feel

 

Music and Lyrics by Wells Hanley © 2020.

Singer:  Ali Thibodeau at https://linktr.ee/deaueyes

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: https://thisjunhttps://thisjungianlife.com/join-dream-school/gianlife.com/enroll/

 REFERENCES:

The Book of Symbols, published by Taschen

Kalsched, Donald. The Inner World of Trauma

Sep 09, 2021
SHADOWLAND: a new podcast experience – September 9 on TJL
40

On September 9th, This Jungian Life will launch a new podcast experience - SHADOWLAND. In this series, we meet soulfully with people who live and work in the hidden places of our culture.

Walk with us and discover the voice of psyche on unexpected paths.

Sep 02, 2021
Episode 179 - The Archetype of WAR
01:19:06

Recent events in Afghanistan have again put war at the forefront of collective consciousness. War’s destruction belongs to the mythic realm. Mars, the Roman god of war, was a primordial force whose altars were placed outside city gates. Although acknowledged, he was not accepted. His paramour, Venus, is warfare’s seductress, offering spectacle, pageantry, and glory.

Like all the gods of Mt. Olympus, Mars and Venus live in us as opposing forces of aggression and eros. We are charged with holding the tension of these impassioned opposites and making them conscious, lest we project shadow onto designated enemies or wage war internally as neurosis. We can stand in the complexity of conflict, suspend action, and allow the gods a place inside our psychic city gates. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I had a dream me and my boyfriend adopted a child and were living in a rundown apartment full of darkness that resembled a studio we rehearsed in. Then we went to the balcony to watch missiles falling and exploding in the sky; my boyfriend was aloof to the situation. My first thought was, “this must be very exciting for the child because it’s like fireworks,” Then I realized that it’s actually really dangerous and life-threatening, so I grabbed the child and ran inside, leaving my boyfriend outside gazing at the sky. The room was pitch dark, and I could hear the voices of my mother and my brother talking about me; they were saying, “how is the baby going to survive without a shell”? Then I realized the kid has turned into a round egg in the palm of my hand, and the shell was dissolving like wet paper, leaving a bubble of fragile liquid with a fetus inside. I knew that any sudden movement could burst the bubble and kill the baby, so I tried to be as gentle and careful as I could.”

 REFERENCES:

A Terrible Love of War by James Hillman. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0143034928/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_46A683TF2489P8WNSC8Y

Depth Psychology and a New Ethic by Erich Neumann. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0877735719/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_7W8QHPPGHMJ6SJ6RYS9R

The Moral Equivalent of War by William James. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1445529866/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_JF75M92ZS5N96ST1M49G

A Story Waiting to Pierce You by Peter Kingsley. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1890350214/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_BHEFTMVSZCJ6JF0X86N7

A Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M2YED0C/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_KGW7PQX1J4DH4WB2HQCF

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Sep 02, 2021
Episode 178 - The Music of Metaphor: Healing in Therapy & Life
01:26:39

Guest Mark Winborn is a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst who teaches in the U.S. and internationally. Author of three books and numerous articles, Mark is an active member of the IRSJA and the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich/Kusnacht. Psychotherapy is talk therapy—but what kind of talk are we talking about? The most fundamental medium of our knowing is language, and metaphor imbues language with music.

To understand and engage another’s internal world requires language which speaks in harmony with the unconscious. Metaphor speaks beyond ego and traverses the realms between past and present, bodily sensation and feeling, conscious and unconscious. It infuses lived experience with connection and creates shared space for healing. Jung says, “Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices; he enthralls and overpowers, while at the same time he lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring.”

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am in the bathroom of a hotel room where I am staying. I may have just gotten out of the shower. I see a fat, red, slimy worm-like creature several inches in length crawling along the floor. I am horrified and think that it is a snake. As I inspect it more closely, I notice a tiny pair of limbs along the upper portion of the body. At this point, I wonder if it is a baby alligator. I find this idea less repugnant than a snake. My wife comes into the room and tells me that it is actually a bird. As I study the tiny limbs, I begin to think that these must be embryonic wings. At this point, I begin to ponder how I should nurture this creature, wondering if it would be best for it if I took it outside.”

REFERENCES

Website: www.drmarkwinborn.com

Edinger, E. (1991). Anatomy of the psyche: Alchemical symbolism in psychotherapy. Chicago: Open Court

Meltzer, D., & Williams, M. H. (1988/2008). The apprehension of beauty: The role of aesthetic conflict in development, art, and violence. London: Karnac.

Siegelman, E. (1990). Metaphor and meaning in psychotherapy. New York: Guilford

Winborn, M. (2018). Interpretation in Jungian Analysis: Art and Technique. Routledge.

Winborn, M. (2014). Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond. Fisher King Press.

Winborn, M. (2011). Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey. Fisher King Press.

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Aug 26, 2021
Episode 177 - Splitting: Understanding What Divides Us
01:03:19

We seem hard-wired to split the world into polarities: right/wrong, either/or, victory/defeat, Democrat/Republican. Infants and toddlers have not yet achieved the developmental capacity for complexity; they are believed to split their feelings toward caretakers into “good” and “bad,” depending on whether their needs are being met in the moment.

Although it distorts reality, splitting reduces anxiety by locating the problem “out there,” allowing us to reject what we find aversive and affirm our own virtue, self-worth, and blamelessness. The capacity for ambivalence—the ability to hold opposite feelings—requires more differentiated cognitive skills and emotional range. Can we bear anxiety in the face of what seems intolerable without retreating to the fortress of one-sided (usually righteous) certainty? Doing so can increase capacity for objectivity, self-reflection, and ability to bridge the split. 

HERE’S THE DREAM WE ANALYZE:

“I was in a room full of people, not sure where or with who, but I suppose they were all friends of mine. I was walking past the couches of people, and I stumbled upon this table. Underneath the table was a head of a person who looked a lot like Sigmund Freud. I approached the sort of “floating head” and said, “you look a lot like Sigmund Freud.” He was smiling at me greatly, and he said, “that’s because I am.” Then his head disappeared like a ghost disappearing into a wall. I jumped back, gasped, and looked around the room to see if anyone saw what I just witnessed. No one had, they all were busy talking, and so I just stared at the spot where his head was trying to make sense of what I saw.” 

REFERENCES:

Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry Eleventh Edition by Benjamin J. Sadock https://www.amazon.com/dp/1609139712/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_FXHRS2XVKGW5Q17ZR2K7

 Love, Guilt and Reparation. By Melanie Klein https://www.amazon.com/dp/074323765X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_ZK5F7D7B07XRKH5XJBJ4

 RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Aug 19, 2021
Episode 176 - The Wounded Healer
54:19

There are three major models of healing: medical, shamanic, and psychoanalytic. In the first, the doctor does it to you; in the second, the intermediary does it for you; and in the third, Jung’s dialectical process, we work together to discover “the curative powers in the patient’s own nature.” Just as every wounded patient has inner health, every healer has an inner wound. If consciously known and borne, the analyst’s wound serves the healing process.

In Greek myth, Chiron symbolizes the wounded healer, a term Jung originated. A wise and noble centaur, Chiron suffered a painful, incurable wound—and inspired many a Greek hero to reach full potential. Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis attract wounded healers. A recent survey shows that 82% of applied psychology graduate students and faculty in the U.S. and Canada experience mental health conditions. We must be willing, like Chiron, to embrace the darkness of our painful places if we hope to help others embrace theirs. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I had just moved into a house with new roommates. One of the roommates was an African American social media personality, and the other roommate was a Latinx man. As a white woman with a privileged background, I felt like an intruder, but was excited to be living with them. In the first week, I get back to the house, and no one is home. In one of the shared spaces, the ‘social media personality roommate has left out materials for one of her projects where she has two mason jars that have been fermenting and infusing for weeks. Both jars are filled with a clear liquid, where the top half of the liquid is red, and the bottom half is blue. One jar is labeled “separated,” and the other doesn’t have a label. Since I’ve seen her video about this on social media, I know that if the labeled jar is shaken, the colors will stay separated, and with the unlabeled jar, they will mix into a purple. Without thinking, impulsively, I grab the unlabeled mason jar and tip it over, watching the colors bleed into each other. I give it a shake, and it turns into a gorgeous, bright, light, almost neon purple. Immediately I realize what I’ve done and that I can’t separate the colors again. I’ve destroyed my new roommate’s weeks of patient work. I feel horrible. I pray for it to reset, but I know it’s too late. I’m in a fancy German University library with my boyfriend. I’m a mess, confessing what I had done. I need to tell my roommate that I am sorry and that I promise I will never touch her work again, but I don’t actually know her real name or phone number. My boyfriend and I are scouring all sources to find a way to contact her: emails, texts, social media, but she uses multiple monikers, and we can’t figure out her real name. I’m sobbing and self-conscious of making noise in the uptight library. My boyfriend tries to lighten the mood and loudly says, “If I’m ever going to have kids, I’m going to do it when I’m 27, not when I’m 34” as a type of joke, which causes a stir in the quiet library and generates some laughter. I’m embarrassed and feel helpless. I know what I want to say to her to apologize, but I am missing key information to be able to contact her.”

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Aug 12, 2021
Episode 175 - Tarot, Divination & the Symbolic Life
01:27:17

Guest T. Susan Chang is a writer, podcaster, and teacher of tarot, the most commonly recognized modern form of divination. The archetypal symbols in the tarot’s 78 card deck offer gateways to meaning and mystery. Jung says symbols act as transformers—life energy is converted from a lower to higher form by the amplification that consciousness provides. Tarot divination is intended to break from the mundane and court the numinous. It asks that we set logic aside, surrender doubt, and step unafraid into the space between realms. As with dreams, whatever arises will tell us something we don’t know and can use. Jung said that the “redeeming symbol is a highway, a way upon which life can move forward without torment and compulsion.” By opening ourselves to the inexplicable, we set forth on that highway with the intent of discovering our unique pattern for personhood and purpose in the world. 

A Two-Card Tarot Reading

This week, in lieu of a dream interpretation, Susie agreed to do a two-card Tarot draw for all of us. The question we chose was dealing with uncertainty. The cards, visible on camera, were spread out face down, and she gently moved them around, picked up a few, and selected two. Turning them over revealed the Queen and Page of Wands, two court cards. As the Queen of Wands has an outgoing nature, she creates networks. This card indicated that we can seek support from others in a time of uncertainty. The youthful Page of Wands, at whom the Queen seemed to be gazing, has a quality of innocence and optimism as he looks outward. Altogether this draw indicates that we can choose our attitude toward uncertainty. The Queen of Wands suggests the possibility of connection with others, and the Page conveys a spirit of adventure. 

References

www.tsusanchang.com

Podcast: Fortune’s Wheelhouse

Books: 

https://www.amazon.com/Tarot-Correspondences-Ancient-Secrets-Everyday/dp/0738755125/

https://www.amazon.com/36-Secrets-Decanic-Journey-through/dp/1716325099/

Tarot Deciphered

https://www.amazon.com/Tarot-Deciphered-Decoding-Esoteric-Symbolism/dp/0738764477/

https://www.amazon.com/Divination-Synchronicity-Psychology-Meaningful-Studies/dp/0919123023/

Aug 05, 2021
Episode 174 - Time & Truth About Its Use
01:30:15

Guest Oliver Burkeman states in his new book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, that “outrageous brevity is life’s defining problem.” At age 80, you’ll have had a paltry 4,000 weeks. Such brevity is breathtaking, so we create defenses against the reality of finitude. We distract ourselves with the belief that fulfillment lies in the future, that plans and goals prove purpose, and that we can achieve almost any number of things by being more efficient/motivated/healthy—or just overall exceptional. Paradoxically, embracing life’s limitations can open us to what Jung called “a new attitude”—an inner pivot from the daily grind to seeing and seizing life’s possibilities. Time is not our adversary, the present is not hostage to the future, and we can choose to be alive while we’re alive.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“Had a dream about a close friend. She had committed a murder, and there was a police detective asking her questions. She had some sort of tracker device that she was holding in her hand most of the dream. She lied to the detective and said she only had it because of her work, and she hadn’t even turned it on yet. The policeman wanted to check her tracker to confirm she wasn’t at the scene of murder. She kept making up excuses as to why she couldn’t give it to him. She kept coming and going in her car from this house that we were in sometimes with the policeman; other times it was just busy with different unknown people. My friend was terrified and turned to me for help. At one point, she was wailing and pleading with me to help her, saying, “please don’t let them take me away.” I was holding her and comforting her and saying I wouldn’t let them do that.”

REFERENCES:

www.oliverburkeman.com

Burkeman, Oliver. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. https://www.oliverburkeman.com/books 

Burkeman, Oliver. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

Burkeman, Oliver. Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done 

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jul 29, 2021
Episode 173 - The Cosmic Meaning of Consciousness
01:11:34

In Answer to Job, Jung states, “Whoever knows God has an effect on him.” If, as Jung claims, individual human consciousness affects God, what we are matters monumentally. When we serve our neuroses, the gulf between ego and Self widens. Pursuing individuation not only sets our personality in right order, it permits our personal experiences to enrich the collective unconscious – who we are is added to God. When Jung visited the Navajo, they told him they helped the sun, their father, cross the sky each day, a spiritual observance that sustained the world. Jung said, “I had envied the fullness of meaning in that belief and had been looking about without hope for a myth of our own. Now I knew what it was, and knew even more: that man is indispensable for the completion of creation, that in fact, he himself is the second creator of the world….” Human consciousness weaves meaning into the dance of life. Our psyches companion God crossing the sky each day and so participate in creation. As we confront the mystery of our lives and uncover the unique meaning unfolding in us – we become conscious co-creators.

HERE’S THE DREAM WE ANALYZED:

 “I stand up from the couch and move toward the hallway. Three older women have entered the house. They look to be in their 50s or 60s, with long, draping clothes. They look like ordinary women and do not appear threatening, but I immediately feel menacing energy. I ask them who they are and what they are doing in the house. The women brush off my questions and mock me for my concern, suggesting that I am frightening the little boy. They have pushed past the hallway and are now in the kitchen. Their forcefulness tells me that they are here with ill intent, and I fear that they are here to rob the family. I grab the little boy and take him upstairs to hide him in his room while I deal with the old women, but when I am closing the boy’s bedroom door to go back downstairs, the women are already on the second floor of the house, entering all the rooms, opening drawers and cabinets, and taking things. They seem to be everywhere, and yet their movements are not chaotic but very controlled and methodical in a way that is unsettling to me. They seem particularly intent on taking books, paper files, and personal documents. I begin to think about what the family might have that the women want, what value is here that I had not known about. I remember or realize that the father is a famous novelist, and I wonder if maybe the women are trying to steal his work. I try to stop them, but they won’t listen to me, and I wonder how I am going to explain this to the family later. After following them around for a bit, I take the boy back downstairs. I decide to call 9-1-1 and leave the house until help arrives. I am barefoot and carrying the boy on my hip as I walk away from the house. While I wait for the 9-1-1 responder to answer, I realize that I do not know the house’s address. The dream ends before I find out whether help arrives.” 

REFERENCES:

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. Robert Moore

Memories, Dreams, Reflections. CG Jung

Answer to Job, CG Jung

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jul 22, 2021
Episode 172 - Archetypes
01:09:52

Although the concept of archetypes has philosophical ancestors, Jung’s theory was developed over time and rested on a foundation that was scientific and empirical. Research and experiment enabled Jung to establish the autonomous activity of the unconscious.

He was then able to posit archetypes as a predisposition to form representations of universal human experiences and mythological motifs, such as marriage, the hero’s journey, and death/rebirth. For Jung, archetypes are innate psychic organs that “have a positive, favourable (sic), bright side that points upwards [and] one that points downwards…” Archetypes manifest spontaneously. In the collective, they are the driving force behind mass movements; in individuals, archetypes manifest most frequently as dream images that feel numinous and ‘other.’ Jung says, “The impact of an archetype, whether it takes the form of immediate experience or is expressed through the spoken word stirs us because it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own.” The power of an archetype can either possess us or inspire us.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“Early morning dream, just before waking, and eerily similar but not the same as one I had several years ago about being shot in the heart and stomach area and killed by a stranger. This time, I was at home in my home office and heard someone entering through my back door. I may have wondered if it was my boyfriend, but he does not live with me, and I wasn’t expecting anyone. I went into the hallway to see who it was, and a man I’ve never seen before walked in. He had the energy of an intruder, and I felt scared. He looked right at me. His hair was white; his clothing was gray, his skin nearly colorless or ashen. His eyes and face were emotionless, without expression. He was oriented above me in my dream as if suddenly I had shrunk to the height of a small child looking up at him. I either asked or was about to ask who he was and what he was doing here. Without changing his blank expression, he pulled out a handgun and shot me, point-blank, in the stomach. This time, I woke up from the dream before I felt the bullet. The feeling was adrenaline-filled, fearful, angry, surprised, and confused. I had/have no idea who this man is or was, or what he represents.”

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jul 15, 2021
Episode 171 - Paying Attention: What Are You Spending It On?
01:01:26

We plainly pay attention, using the finite currency of time and energy issued in the 24-hour increments that add up to a life - well spent? We have choices and constraints about how we allocate our attention, and today’s world competes fiercely for it in unprecedented ways. No wonder, for power is the ability to command or hijack attention, even if it warps reality with untruths.

Jung particularly valued the attentional dimension of “dreaming, or fantasy-thinking” experienced in reverie, dreams, and creativity. And like mothers, lovers, and psychotherapists, we can give others the unconditional attention that brings soul into being. All we have to do is practice paying attention to what we pay attention to.

 Here’s the dream we analyze:

“A large lesbian woman, Sally, has four adopted boys. Their home is the top floor of a brick industrial building (like a power station) in the shape of a square, with a quad in the middle. They are visited by Kirsty and Phil (hosts of British TV shows about property/home improvement), and the first room they visit floods with seawater as the tide rises and falls, leaving tide marks on the furniture. One of the boys (aged 9) insists that the room is not fit for purpose and tugs on the sleeves of the adults, but Sally says it is OK. The other boy runs around like he has ADHD. As they move around the building, Kirsty and Phil discover all kinds of problems. There is an industrial kitchen covered in grease and grime. The roof leaks and the home isn’t warm or protected. In the one habitable room, two boys (one black, one white) are stored in a Walls ice cream freezer. Kirsty and Phil worry that the freezer is on, but they touch it and think it is off. The boys both have their eyes open. Kirsty and Phil realize that their cheerful, anything-is-possible attitude won’t work this time. They don’t sugarcoat things for Sally, telling her that the building is condemned and they need to move. They suggest that she sell at a loss. Sally nearly argues with them: she is angry and feels betrayed, but then she comes ‘round. Sally is a life skills coach, and Kirsty and Phil ask her for a session, which she says she will provide for free, but they want to pay her in full. This will allow Sally to recoup her losses and find another property. The 9-year-old anxious boy should have been listened to.”

REFERENCES:

Marzel, Charlie, “I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age.” The New York Times, 4 February 2021 by Charlie Warzel. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/04/opinion/michael-goldhaber-internet.html

The Social Dilemma. A docudrama filmed by Jeff Orlowski in 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Dilemma  

Ian McGilchrist. The Master and His Emissary. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0300245920/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_1W6M13WYQRW5X006XFHW

Daniel A. Hughes, Jonathan Baylin, and Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. Brain-Based Parenting. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393707288/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_SG8Q283NW3NSTAV3BQBP

John Gottman. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0553447718/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_8XM6QBQMXNJ8M7K8X9GR

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your Own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jul 08, 2021
Episode 170 - Letting Go: When Is It Time?
01:16:10

In the first half of life, we strive to develop ego strength and achieve our dreams. To want, will, and work is worthwhile and adaptive--until a life dream, relationship, or identity fades or fails. Should we hang in and hang on - or let go? When does perseverance become pointless, or hope turn rancid in refusal to accept disappointment, defeat, or depression?

In letting go, we relinquish our hard-won, heroic “I” and yield to an encounter with the unconscious. Jung says that although “I was afraid of losing command of myself…I let myself drop.” He came to realize that “This identity and my heroic idealism had to be abandoned, for there are higher things than the ego’s will, and to these one must bow.” Jung discovered, as may we, that in letting go something greater can meet and sustain us. 

HERE’S THE DREAM WE ANALYZE:

“I’m in a dining room. It’s in an older house with rooms like boxes for different purposes. There is the requisite brown wood dining room table. I’m not sure I should be in there. It feels old and used, and the air feels stale. I look up at there is a plain dark four-blade fan. It’s motionless. But I’m awe-struck by the ancient golden raven perched on the fan blade closest to me. I immediately knew it was the ancient raven. It was looking at me. It was large and had multiple layers of ancient golden feathers. Some big. Some small. Its many golden feathered tail hung down from the fan like a peacock. We just stared at each other. I knew deep inside this ancient raven was connected to me.” 

 REFERENCES

C.G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Randolphe M. Nesse, M.D. Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

 RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jul 01, 2021
Episode 169 - Threshold: Moving Between the Realms
01:01:34

In medieval times, the threshold was a plank that kept barnyard “threshings” outside the house. In the sciences a threshold is the limit of magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a definitive change to occur. In human development life stage thresholds are marked and recognized through ritual. In psychoanalytic work the symbol is the threshold—a visible but not literal representation that calls consciousness to apprehend a larger, unseen reality. 

Science fiction, mythology’s modern descendant, has richly storied this process as transition into a new world. The ambiguity and disorientation of this liminal situation requires the sacrifice of old attitudes and willingness to surrender to a new reality—a space of potential enlightenment. The ultimate goal is to recross the threshold and bring the symbolic experience home to consciousness. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

“It is late at night and I find myself lying in a dark alleyway at the foot of a tall building. It seems I have just got married as I am dressed as a bride, in a bejeweled white dress. A fat woman with a very round face is looking over me with mean eyes. She is pulling my bridal jewelry off me, one by one. She tears my earrings away making my ears bleed, then the big nose pin, then my neck piece and so on. The woman looks into my eyes and says that my husband is dead. As she’s tearing the jewelry off of me, my bridal dress begins to wear out. I am unable to stop her. Suddenly, I find myself in the entrance hallway of what seems like a palatial old house. It is dimly lit. I am feeling drained. My bridal dress is all rags now, I can’t feel my feet. I look down and notice that both my feet are missing, it seems that they have been wrenched off of my legs. I am floating. I can sense that I’m in a watery world. My breath is draining out through my legs. I manage to float to the edge of the grand staircase and hold onto the post at the bottom. I look up and try to call out to my sister, who I know is sleeping upstairs. My voice is stuck. I am dying.”

REFERENCES:

Arnold van Gennep. Rites of Passage. https://www.amazon.com/dp/022662949X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_10TZ7PBV2KD9PBZ14DVJ

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jun 24, 2021
Episode 168 - The Unspoken Wounding of Men
01:21:26

Jung’s earliest dream, at age three or four, preoccupied him all his life, “in an underground chamber, a giant phallus stood erect on a golden throne.” Majestic and luminous, it struck him with terror that intensified as his mother’s voice cried out in warning. Phallos, the central archetype of a man's psyche, was once worshipped as sacred. Its urgent, dynamic, and fertilizing power was split off with the rise of ascetic monotheism and banished to the unconscious. Misplaced and maligned, it surfaces as resentful passivity, fear of passion, confusion of values, and reluctance to take action. Phallos is neither reducible to physicality nor synonymous with the patriarchal structures that have alienated men from their vulnerabilities and locked entire cultures into rigid hierarchies. When properly understood, Phallos can revitalize a man’s spirit and set him in vigorous relationship to himself and others. When wounded, it palls his potential.

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I’m in a taxi, on my way to an old friend’s wedding on the high street where I live. I had on a great suit which everybody loved, but I had forgotten my tie. I realized I didn’t have time to go back home, so I went into the back room of a thrift shop which only had a selection of boring ties. As I came out, the shop was filling up with wedding guests. Then I found myself in a different, very gloomy, very cluttered thrift shop with no windows or seemingly a door. In it was a blonde woman, who I asked about ties. She pointed to a corner, and I found a couple more boring ties. I picked them up and laid them on a circular, cluttered table to get a better look in the gloom. I then realized on the table was a larger pile of ties, and to my astonishment, they were ones I had once owned but must have given away to the shop years earlier, still lying there. I told the woman, but she just shrugged. I went through them and found my favorite, which was a dark background with white circles on it. It wasn’t perfect, but it would have to do.”

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

REFERENCES:

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections by C.G. Jung.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0679723951/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_KJ9YSPFZZ5XZ6A7MND2R

Iron John: A Book about Men by Robert Bly.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0306824264/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_H4265W9BKGA44JC3WJMW

Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men by James Hollis.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y2U9ARS/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_MX6Z6GB2933NNM78FM47

Fear of the Feminine by Erich Neumann.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691034737/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_F6B98SARV608ER64N5CE

Phallos by Eugene Monick.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123260/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Z2J86A205EYN5EK4T7FR

Castration and Male Rage by Eugene Monick.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0919123511/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PA070QF8AHM4DMM29TCQ

Jun 17, 2021
Episode 167 - Extroversion
01:10:26

Although Jung’s theory of typology is the foundation of various personality assessments, it is important to appreciate its profundity as Jung’s theory of consciousness. The four functions of consciousness - sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling--are governed by two attitudes, extraversion, and introversion. Jung defines extraversion as “an attitude type characterized by concentration of interest on the external object.”

Since the movement of psychic energy is outward, extroverts find gratification in social and collegial interactions. Extraverts, therefore, need to distinguish individual goals from relational expectations and cultural norms lest they sacrifice inner reality to outer influences. A vital sense of life direction and the unconstrained pursuit of goals requires differentiating outer from inner and is central to Jungian theory. Knowledge of one’s typology can enlist consciousness in psyche’s quest for balance and wholeness. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I am perhaps 4 or 5 months pregnant, and I am at my grandad’s house. I am miscarrying. There is blood and tissue everywhere, and I can feel it happening very viscerally. My grandad and a woman I don’t know are helping to clean it up. There is going to be a party, and I don’t want anyone to know what has happened. Family has arrived now, and I am distracted and worried about people finding out. My grandad can see this and says to me, “why don’t you go up to my room?” This is so I can hide the bucket full of blood. When I get upstairs, the bucket is almost completely clean, just some remnants, but anyone finding it wouldn’t know what had happened. Suddenly my aunt enters the room, and I kick the bucket under the bed to hide it. She talks to me urgently and intensely, I’m not sure what about, but I am distracted. Later, a miscarriage happens again, but even more intensely. This time I see a noticeable baby, small, long, pale blueish. I think I should call the hospital, but I don’t want to. I worry that it might be a medical emergency, but I am still resistant.”

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Jun 10, 2021
Episode 166 - The Power of NO
01:07:17

Toddlers have ready access to no as they discover the power of me—the start of a lifelong process of differentiating self from all that is other. When are personal needs, desires, and selfhood the priority? When does caring about others, the need to belong, and toeing the line take precedence?

Fear of social rejection, workplace retaliation, or family conflict can erode our healthy no, leading to resentment, an uncertain sense of self, and inability to answer the call to life. We also need to be able to say no to our own bad habits, rigidities, and avoidance of challenges. No is robust, and can open space for self-determination and authenticity. When we find our no we also discover that yes has been waiting for us, and it is alive and inviting. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I am enrolled in a graduate program in a beautiful tropical tourist destination. The first part of the dream I remember is getting the syllabus on the first day of one of my classes. The professor is male, in his 30s, slender and unassuming. The class is relatively small (8-12) and comprised of people the same age or slightly younger than myself. I don't read the syllabus. On another day of class, we are given a break, and I take the chance to go on a walk through a beautiful nature area. I meet with my wife and son who are staying with me in this idyllic, vacation-like locale. We spot a cafe that I have memory of trying to eat at before, but they were closed. This time they are open, and I estimate I have time to get a quick bite before class resumes. We do, and after a pleasant but short meal, I leave them and return to class. I check the time and see that I have actually missed almost twenty minutes (I think the time was 7:17). I slide back into the classroom, and the class is watching videos that they apparently made in the time I was gone - a group project that seems like it was fun and interesting to put together. After class, I go to the professor's office to apologize. He avoids eye contact and is rather dismissive of my apology, calling me out for having not read the syllabus. Our discussion continues, but now we are in a popular outdoor spot--a dock by the water along a path surrounded by tropical vegetation. The sun is setting in front of us. Another professor (or school administrator) of mine is also there, a woman also in her 30s. Apparently, I also missed another school activity for a personal reason, and she is attacking my character somewhat aggressively--a contrast to the despondency of the male professor. She is there with two of her friends, like they are going out for the night; in contrast the man is alone. Neither is acting in a professional manner. The woman calls me a liar. I am defending (though still apologetically) my inclination to give time to my family, and my wife appears and tells me to ignore the criticisms. At about the same time, the eyes of both of the school figures begin to change: the woman's turn into black and white pixilated emoji eyes; the man (who has been sitting to my left with his legs dangling off the dock this whole time) makes direct eye contact with me for the first time. His mood has changed with this direct more aggressive look, and he no longer has glasses, but his eyes are large, perfectly round, and subtly glowing purplish-orange (it makes me think of an alien). The woman begins to leave with her friends, and I wake up."

Jun 03, 2021
Episode 165 - Risk & Reality: When Fear Traps Us
01:14:12

We can’t help knowing that something bad could happen if we do X…or Y…or maybe Z. Like Odysseus steering his ship between sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis, we must navigate between risk avoidance and recklessness. One keeps us out of life; the other jeopardizes wellbeing. In pre-modern times life in the external world was fraught with danger and risk; in the modern world, the consequences of risk are more often internal.

Possible disappointment, shame or failure may feel intolerable, but not constitute actual disaster. Assessing risk requires willingness to engage inner conflict--and discern, then answer, the call to enlarged life. When Odysseus’ ship later sank, he clung to the roots of a fig tree. He, and we, have access to psychic roots that can support us. And the day came when the risk to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"In the countryside I find a baby crawling on the side of a road with some cars driving by. I saw the mother earlier and I judge her for being so irresponsible. It enrages me but I fear expressing my rage. I do not want to provoke drama from her. I pick up the baby and bring it to where she stays with her family in a holiday home. The family doesn't take her so seriously, but when I place the baby with them they are not even surprised or shocked about that. She seems unimpressed as well. I still worry for drama coming from them but it doesn't seem to come. The baby appears unbothered, too."

May 27, 2021
Episode 164 - Assessing Your Values: Meaning & Motivation
01:02:40

There is value in examining your values, the powerful emotional and cognitive attitudes that underlie large and small life choices. Although values are initially acquired through family and institutions, an essential task of adulthood is consciously embracing traditional or individual values.

Values are the wellspring of libido: they motivate action toward goals. Unless preferred values are in alignment with the underlying flow of energy, unconscious agendas may prevail. Our actions reveal our values, and dreams depict conflicts between conscious and unconsciously held values. The work of Shalom Schwartz, available in an online values assessment (see below), can help identify core values. When values are authentically aligned with goals, they allow libido to flow naturally toward action, and we feel at home with ourselves and right with the world.  

Here’s the Dream We Analyze:

“I am on my school oval, playing volleyball with my peers, though I am not a teenager anymore. I’m not very good at playing; I often miss the ball because the sun is in my eyes, or I unknowingly break a rule. Each time I fail, I expect everyone to criticize me (like they would have in the real world), but instead, they are quite friendly and understanding. Eventually, I get the hang of it and have fun. Suddenly I notice a huge cherry blossom tree that’s caught fire just behind the volleyball court. Despite the bark turning black like charcoal, the flowers remain vivid and beautiful and untarnished. I am struck with this beautiful sight against the cloudy white sky, and I reach for my phone to take a photo, but I cannot find it, so I simply sit and watch it with awe.”

REFERENCES:

Values assessment based on the work of Shalom Schwartz: www.discoveryourvalues.com

Schwartz, S.H. An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1)1. https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1116 

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

May 20, 2021
Episode 163 - INTROVERSION
01:26:54

The terms introversion and extraversion, now cultural staples, originated with Jung and describe the overall direction of life energy. The widely used Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI), now available online, is drawn directly from Jung’s theory of personality types. Although extraverts direct their energy outward, introverts direct their energy inward. External-world relationships and events tend to pale in comparison to ideas, internal images and reflective processes.

The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke expressed this idea pithily: “I am in love with you and it’s none of your business.” Introverts are not shy, reclusive, fearful, detached or avoidant—they simply find their inner world enlivening. Introversion places a high value on receptivity, quietude in a busy world, and relationship with oneself.  Jung, himself an introvert, valued the ability to claim inner life, freedom and independence. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I'm in the central square of my native city with my grandmother and my cousin (he and I are in our teenage years). We hear a deep rumbling as though a huge mass of water is approaching. We look around trying to figure out which way it is coming from. I see a gigantic wave crashing over the clock tower which looks more ancient than the one in my real city. The three of us stand facing the wave. My grandmother grabs both of our hands and says, "We hardly have a chance." I think that it might be the end but still hope to survive. The wave hits us (I often dream of huge waves but never been hit by one before). I'm holding my breath under water. It is dark. Then the water subsides. Now it's completely gone. People walk around as though nothing much happened. I meet a couple of my classmates who are not at all surprised that they survived."

References:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Susan Cain. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307352153/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Q0RT7W8KQSFTGYZYG0GF



May 13, 2021
Episode 162 - Tending the Ego-Self Axis: Reconnecting with Source
01:04:36

Erich Neumann publicly proposed the concept of the ego-Self (or Self-ego) axis and began to sketch its implications in his 1952 Eranos lecture, "The Psyche and the Transformation of the Reality Planes. Edward Edinger popularized the concept writing, "It portrays the developmental relationship between the ego and the Self, Jung’s term for “the totality of the conscious and unconscious psyche [that] transcends our visions…” 

As infants, we embody an original wholeness, or Self-hood, out of which ego (a sense of “I”) gradually emerges. The connection to the Self may be damaged if the ego believes itself the sole source of identity and life or if the ego has been depleted through trauma. In either case, reconnection to the Self is essential to life vitality. A living relationship with the Self can be sought through work with the unconscious: we can attend to our dreams, develop self-reflective capacity, and learn to see meaning and magic in everyday occurrences. 

Here’s the dream we analyze:

“I was taking part in a marathon. At first, I was doubtful I could complete the race. As I started running, I realized I was not losing my energy too quickly, and my hope I would reach the destination was growing within me. Toward the end of the race, I still had plenty of energy, so I decided to accelerate a bit, even though I could see so many people were ahead of me, and I, therefore, had no chance of winning. As I reached the end, I checked the results and noticed I was around the 14th person to arrive. I was, however, the first among female participants. I was very excited and wanted my partner to see the results. Then I somehow started running back along the same route, still full of energy. While I was running back, someone was announcing the prizes, and I knew I would be offered a pram and could choose out of three types. One of the prams offered as a prize was a “German” pram that had a seat for the baby that could be turned around so that the baby is either looking forward or looking back at the parent who is pushing.” 

 REFERENCES: 

Linda Leonard. On the Way to the Wedding.

https://bookshop.org/books/on-the-way-to-the-wedding-transforming-the-love-relationship/9781570627118

Edward Edinger. Ego and Archetype.

https://bookshop.org/books/ego-and-archetype/9780877735762

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

May 06, 2021
Episode 161 - When Words Lose Their Meaning
01:37:02

In 1543, Andreas Vesalius dissected a corpse, thereby inaugurating a scientific attitude toward the human body. This new attitude taught us to stand aside from our identification and connection with the body and see it as a lifeless subject of inquiry. Such an approach brought obvious vital advances in science and medicine, but it also came at a cost. In the 20th century, philosophers such as Foucault and Derrida did for language what Vesalius had done for the human body. Their careful dissection of language laid bare formerly hidden assumptions and revealed the ways that language shapes our thinking. 

We are joined on the podcast by Dr. Bret Alderman, author of Symptom, Symbol, and the Other of Language: A Jungian Interpretation of the Linguistic Turn. We discuss alienation and dissociation that results from the Promethean project to deconstruct language and its meaning. 

Foucault, Derrida, and the other postmodernists contributed valuable insights to our understanding of the role of language in determining our assumptions. Still, their desire to sever the meaning of words from those things that words represent is symptomatic of a profound dissociation from our embodied, instinctual selves. Jung was aware of the perils inherent in such a project. "This rupture of the link with the unconscious and our submission to the tyranny of words has one great disadvantage: the conscious mind becomes more and more the victim of its discriminating activity, the picture of the world gets broken down into countless particulars, and the original feelings of unity, which we integrally connected with the unity of the unconscious psyche, is lost. This feeling of unity, in the form of correspondence theory and the sympathy of all things, dominated philosophy until well into the seventeenth century."

The ideas of the postmodernists have permeated culture in ways that are not always obvious. Current movements to redefine certain phenomena as social constructs are evidence of the inroads these philosophies have made. Though there are benefits to looking at this world this way, these ideas may also be giving rise to a "rootless consciousness."

Here's the dream we analyze:

"There are tarantulas stuck on my skin the way ticks would be. They are big and hairy. Strangely the tarantulas are hidden in small boxes, which hang on my body. So their legs are digging into my skin, but I can't see them unless I remove the boxes. My mother is helping me to remove the spiders, but they keep coming back. They don't crawl upon me but rather seem to be born from my skin. All of a sudden, my mother is gone, and I'm alone with some spiders still hanging on me. I can't remove them myself because I'm too scared to touch them. I am terrified and helpless."

REFERENCES:

Dr. Bret Alderman. Symptom, Symbol, and the Other of Language: A Jungian Interpretation of the Linguistic Turn. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0815359136/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_9HK34JAF7WEVYR1JQS5V

Cave of Forgotten Dreams. (Movie). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWbqBNKZ-aU

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

You can contact Dr. Bret Alderman at https://www.aldermancoaching.com/

Apr 29, 2021
Episode 160 - The Dark Side of Mothering
01:12:53

Our colleague Puddi Kullberg, author of The Bad Mother, joins us to acknowledge motherhood’s shadow. A link to her paper is below. Our culture idealizes motherhood, but mothers everywhere have experienced themselves as bad in varying ways and to various degrees.

Jung suggests that even truly harmful mothers can expiate their actions by becoming conscious of what they have done. If we can face even grievous mistakes, we can deepen into our ordinary, sometimes dark humanity. Confrontation with our negative mothering leads to experiencing emotions that were previously unrecognized or denied. We can mitigate isolation by getting help. We can be known, our experience is understandable, and we can choose the life that lies before us now. We may also discover new capacity for compassion and presence—and moments of genuine joy. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

“I climb a gigantic rock. In the carrier on my belly, I carry my son. I am trying to reach the tree that stands solely on top of the rock, which feels like the ceiling of the world. The tree is bigger than any tree I have ever seen. It is, in fact, so big I feel it to be the world tree. I am desperate to reach it, for I feel I need to be there; it is essential. The tree is wildly moving its gigantic trunk from left to right all around its circumference. There is no wind, so I feel it must be moving from itself. Its crown is damaged by what seems to have been lightning. It feels overwhelming how big the tree is. I know that I have to reach the base of the tree when it is moving its trunk into the other direction. Although there is a risk of its branches hitting me and my baby, I know there is a certain time span for me to quickly reach its base before the trunk will change direction again. Suddenly there is a figure that attacks me as I climb upwards. He hits and tries to throw me off the mountain. It feels like he is from space, for he has a strange appearance, metallic-like. I know I will have to fight him; it is too important to reach the tree. I feel a sense of overcoming this figure, but there is no real image of that. I am very aware of my baby on my belly during the fight.”

 REFERENCES

Lisa Marchiano. Motherhood: Facing & Finding Yourself https://www.amazon.com/dp/1683646665/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_14TP3MBSAKD72A2JSV36

Puddi Kullberg. The Bad Mother: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00332925.2019.1564512

Daniela Sieff. The Death Mother as Nature’s Shadow: Infanticide, Abandonment, and the Collective Unconscious: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00332925.2019.1564513

RESOURCES

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Apr 22, 2021
Episode 159 - The Alchemy of Writing
01:13:04

The wellspring of consciousness has long been located in word. Once words were etched on clay or inked on papyrus, a new way of knowing was born. Writing ordered and expanded language, captured ideas, bloomed imagination, and preserved human experience. 

Writing is an encounter like no other with oneself and inner others, light and dark. Whether we meet the page in a personal journal or as professional necessity, we discover that ego alone does not do this job. Some days words leap like dolphins; other days find us becalmed on a flat sea. To create through writing is to encounter self and depths, and Lisa shares experiences of writing her forthcoming book, Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself. Her words for the creative and challenging process of mothering map a path to soul and greater wholeness.  

 

Dream

I was attending a house party, and I was in the kitchen. I was wearing a skirt and all of a sudden I realized I had pooped without realizing it and the poop was on the floor of the kitchen. It was like a long light beige dinner roll in size and shape, and there were large batteries in the poop. I quickly picked it up, hoping no one saw me and turned to put it in the toilet, but there was someone in the bathroom, so I wrapped the poop in a yellow garbage bag and dropped it in the garbage can.

At some other point in the dream, I had to collect many things I had strewn about in the home because I had to leave to make a train journey. I often have elements of my dream where I'm hustling to get somewhere to be on time for a leaving train or bus, but I can't find my belongings. At another point I was in a van with many people driving along a bumpy dirt road. For the majority of the dream, I was surrounded by people but feeling alone. 

 

References

Lisa Marchiano. https://www.amazon.com/Motherhood-Finding-Yourself-Lisa-Marchiano/dp/1683646665/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Lisa+Marchiano&qid=1617802506&s=books&sr=1-1
Barbara Hannah. Encounters with Soul. https://www.amazon.com/Encounters-Soul-Active-Imagination-Developed/dp/1630513504/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Barbara+Hannah&qid=1617641735&s=books&sr=1-3

Rollo May. The Courage to Create. https://www.amazon.com/Courage-Create-Rollo-Market-Paperback/dp/B011MEFW4Q/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3AJL6UOTYR5O5&dchild=1&keywords=rollo+may+the+courage+to+create&qid=1617641816&sprefix=Rollo+May+The+Courage+to+%2Cstripbooks%2C168&sr=8-2

 

Apr 15, 2021
Episode 158 - The Phoenix: Life’s Transformative Fires
01:07:16

The splendid-feathered phoenix lives for hundreds of years builds its own funeral pyre, sets it on fire, and rises from the ashes after three days. The phoenix represents long life, conscious acquiescence to death, and assured regeneration. The fiery alchemical process of calcinatio leaves behind a white ash equivalent to salt, that which cannot be burned: life, soul, and Eros.

The phoenix is usually depicted ascending in its joyful solar plumage of red, orange, and gold, indicating that when one is purged of instinctual drives, affective intensity, and egotistical desires, fire is experienced as divine illumination. The resurrected phoenix constructs an egg from the ashes of its former self and deposits it on the altar of the sun god—an acknowledgment of the regenerative connection between the ego and the Self.

 Here's The Dream We Analyze:

“In this dream, my father, who passed away fifteen years ago, had come back to visit. He seems well but somewhat less warm than he used to be, and not as demonstrative; taller and paler than I remember. We all go to some sort of train station in Amman, which does not actually exist, and hop on a light-rail train suspended high above the city. My father, eldest sister, and brother go ahead of us; and myself, my disabled brother, and his driver are in the compartment behind them. No sooner had the train started to move than I look down and see ancient ruins that apparently were recently excavated. The view is breathtaking; an entire ancient city so well preserved; so beautiful as to rival any ancient ruin on the planet. I notice one or two temples fashioned in the image of gigantic feline heads. I also notice the tasteful lighting that adds a lot to the experience as the evening darkness descends. I wonder how this is here, in the middle of the city, and worry a bit about this lovely ancient ruin being overrun and perhaps damaged by people and tourists. For the moment, there were only one or two people down there that I could see. As I look further I remember that I have been in this place before. We get to our destination and my siblings and father want to go down below and walk. I tell them that I will push my other brother’s wheelchair and take him to the car with the driver.”

 References

Edward Edinger. Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0812690095/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_PXR5RHSZDH31GA722MW3

Apr 08, 2021
Episode 157 - The Archetype of the Fool
01:00:24

The fool in various guises has appeared since ancient times. The court jester seduces through comedy, song, and story. The dummling son of fairy tales wins the treasure with well-meaning ineptitude. Shakespeare featured fools in many of his plays, the Tarot deck begins (or ends) with the fool, and comedians have built careers on playing the fool. The fool punctures the posturings of others’ personas and egos, bests his “betters,” and transgresses social boundaries and conventional morality. The fool flaunts and taunts us with shadow, making truths about cultural norms and human complexity both pointed and palatable. We might well claim that dreams come from the inner fool, and they can shock an ego made lowly by bawdy images of shadow in bathroom dreams and sexual acts. The fool is the unconscious itself, and we recognize if dimly, his close and paradoxical relationship with the Self, light, and dark.

Here's the dream we analyze:

 “I'm not even sure what I was studying. I was wandering around a large parking structure looking for my car and I couldn't find it. I kept using my key to lock it and then listened for the chirp, but it seemed very distant. Then I went into an elevator that seemed to move sideways before it finally started going up. I got out of the elevator and wandered into an empty classroom and sat at a table and wrote in a notebook, but it was just odd musings, like random lines of poetry. A young woman sat next to me. She put her hand on my hand and asked me what I was studying. I told her I did not know. I told her I did not know where my car was or what dorm I lived in. She said she would help me and we started to wander through the structure together. It was like an Escher painting. The woman was flirtatious and I told her she was barking up the wrong tree (I am gay) but she did not seem deterred. We went to the lobby of the building, where there were tables with computers on them and packages in a corner. There were several packages for me, wrapped Christmas gifts from my family from earlier years that I had never picked up. No one seemed to know where my room was, but I went alone back into the structure and continued to wander. Finally, I met two young men who led me to my room. Then I gradually realized I was dreaming and woke up.”

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Apr 01, 2021
Bonus Episode - MILKMAID REVELATIONS: JUNG’S EROTIC STAMP COLLECTION
29:29

Swiss Jungian scholar Jager Schmallzenburger has recently released news of the discovery of Jung’s erotic stamp collection. Found tucked into the wall behind a bookcase, the box of stamps features uniquely rendered images of milkmaids from countries around the world. The milkmaid, symbolic of the archetypal feminine in the flower of fulsome youth, has long been prominent in the mythopoetic imagination of man. No one had previously realized that Jung, in addition to his many other interests, was also a passionate philatelist, and his dedication to the image of the milkmaid puts a decidedly Jungian stamp on this universal and compelling image. Although Schmallzenburger is currently engrossed in researching the images comprising The Milkmaid Collection, various Jungian journals are vying for publication rights. Interest is high and Schmallzenburger’s findings and photographs are expected by the end of the year.

Here's the dream we analyze:

 “I am running down a back ally and see a slightly opened door. I’m running for my life and jump inside bolting the door behind me. Inside it’s the back room of a smokey bar. I try to walk confidently through the room to find the front door. A short, bearded man in a three-piece suit looks intensely at me while he slowly pulls a huge blunt out of his pocket. It’s at least 8 inches long and really thick. He nods and asks if I’d like a hit. I’m tempted but I need to get out the door. He places the blunt on a small low table and takes out a cigar knife, just like my grandfather's, and chops off the tip of the blunt. For some reason, I feel faint. As he clamps the blunt in his teeth, I run out the door. I’m home in the kitchen with my fiancé but now she looks different having gained a huge amount of weight. I sit at the dining table while she slowly peels a banana - strip by strip. It takes forever but I keep staring at it. All pealed now she smiles. I know she’ll make me a banana split. She walks to the counter, winks, and throws it in the blender. I scream and try to turn off the blender but it’s too late. I’m upset and try to leave but long black ropes wrap around my leg and pull me across the kitchen floor. There’s a huge hole in the floor. The strands pull me in. I’ll know I’ll drown so I fight real hard. I wake covered in sweat.”

RESOURCES:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Apr 01, 2021
Episode 156 - Exile & Alienation
01:10:10

not chosen but is imposed and unwanted: a relational break-up, job lay-off, or deportation. Exile can affect the human spirit so powerfully that the ancient Romans used it as an alternative to execution. Alienation describes an internal state of deadness and despair--an uncanny valley that feels featureless, gray, and unending.

It can manifest as depression, anxiety, addiction, and desperation—which can lead to violence against self or others. A return to feeling heals, movingly rendered in Va, Pensiero in Verdi’s opera Nabucco: the exiled Hebrew slaves sing of their loss, love, and longing for home. Tears transform pain into suffering and restore personal presence in relation to something greater. 

Here’s the Dream We Analyze:

“I am in a conservatory. It is night and the conservatory is dimly lit. It is a large room between two castle towers, and the stone walls of the castle can be seen at each end of the conservatory. I feel very comfortable in the room and I even begin to consider how I could move in with my belongings. An old friend from my music college years appears and tells me that the stone walls outside are covered with crystals and diamonds. He also says; "the diamonds are strong enough to cut the scales of a dragon." We then spend some time making incisions in wood with these diamonds, though it feels like a childish exercise. I tell my friend that there is a hidden room in one of the towers and I invite him to follow me to this room. As we walk I mention other rooms (an organ room, a library) and we ascend staircases along the way. The corridors and staircases become more narrow and awkward. I enter the secret room alone; it is empty and very small. I feel extremely uncomfortable, as though there is a strong invisible presence there, and I feel terrified. I leave the room and rejoin my friend; the building is different and we join a crowd of people exiting a theatre. I wake from the dream.”

 REFERENCES

James Hillman. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0060921013/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_VW9YZNKYGKEFY52D5J41

Edward Edinger. https://www.amazon.com/dp/087773576X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_TRNS2QBQX31DKJ1AS6GV

RESOURCES

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/ 

Mar 25, 2021
Episode 155 - A Comedian Walks into a Jungian Podcast…
01:25:13

Elliott Morgan, comedian and PhD candidate in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, joins us to explore humor and psyche. Elliott grew up a fundamentalist Christian in central Florida, and has gone from practicing holy laughter to creating HOLY SH*T, his comedy special on Amazon (also featuring Jung’s debut on the comedic stage).

Elliott’s college major, zoology, prepared him to play Goofy at Disney World and Big Bird on Hollywood Blvd. A recovering Nice Person, Elliott draws on life experiences, relentlessly engages shadow, and uses laughter to turn suffering into soul making. Hitting rock bottom led to the choice not to fall back into old patterns but to fall forward; Elliott’s new life features avocado toast and other radical practices. Jung, quoting Schopenhauer, said, “A sense of humor is the only divine quality of man,” and Elliott’s storytelling and self-disclosure define the alchemy of fellowship, insight, and human spirit.

Elliott’s podcasts, The Valleycast and The Fundamentalists, are additional paths to laughter and transcendence (see  YouTube.com/ElliottMorgan). Elliott will perform live in Washington State at the Spokane Comedy Club on June 23 and at the Tacoma Comedy Club on June 24.  

 

Dream

I am taking a ballet class in a room in a famous building in NYC. The room is shaped like my old apartment in Brooklyn. The building is by the water and there are windows but no good views. It’s dark, rainy and storming outside. The class becomes full and crowded, too crowded to really dance. I feel content, I feel like I’m home.

The room is dark. I can’t make out anyone’s faces, including my ballet teacher’s face. Soon the rain starts to seep into the room. The floors are getting wet. It seems like the room is caving in and I am scared that the old building is falling over from the rain. I worry that the floors are getting ruined with the rain but my ballet teacher doesn’t seem worried.

We all leave the room. I am worried we are running out of time and the building will collapse. No one else seems scared. There are two exits: the elevator or the stairs. The elevator looks dangerous because the rain is seeping in and the elevator runs on electricity. The stairwell shows that we are on the 43 or 44th floor of the building. The stairs are flooded and look slippery. But I think the stairs are safer than taking the elevator.

 

References:

Lionel Corbett. The Soul in Anguish: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Anguish-Psychotherapeutic-Approaches-Suffering/dp/1630512354/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=Lionel+Corbett&qid=1615307691&s=books&sr=1-4

Marie Louise von Franz. The Way of the Dream: https://www.amazon.com/Way-Dream-Conversations-Interpretation-Marie-Louise/dp/1570620369/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3F5CZQDKTYDOQ&dchild=1&keywords=the+way+of+the+dream+von+franz&qid=1615308096&sprefix=The+Way+of+the+Dream%2Caps%2C168&sr=8-1

Edward Edinger. Anatomy of the Psyche. https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Psyche-Alchemical-Symbolism-Psychotherapy/dp/B07NYBGGNT/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=Edward+Edinger&qid=1615307612&sr=8-6

Peter Berger. A Rumor of Angels

Peter Rollins. Divine Magician, Insurrection

Mar 18, 2021
Episode 154 - Belonging: The Search for Home
55:14

Horses herd, birds flock, whales pod, and people tribe. The need to belong is as intrinsic to human nature as the need for food, touch, clothing and shelter. We belong to families, communities, ideas and ideals, yet must also separate from them in service to our own individuation.

As we grow, we belong to teams and clubs, and find new homes in school and at work. Is the price of belonging rigid conformity and sameness, or is uniqueness valued and difference supported? We later express attitude and attachment to home in the houses we inhabit: photos and mementos honor connections within a framework of personal expression. Jung built Bollingen, the unique home in which he was “in the midst of my true life [and] most deeply myself.” To be at home in the world and belong to ourselves is the mature manifestation of affiliation, differentiation, and creative endeavor.

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I see our home landscape from air some distance away from the home, as though I'm seeing it while hovering/flying in the air - a birds-eye view. I see that the bungalow, that's our home, is in a ruined condition. The building appears deserted, a destroyed habitat in time of apocalypse with its bare skeleton remaining - the base and some misshapen columns, like the one in destroyed cities of war-torn Syria, except there are no large number of buildings in the vicinity. It's the only building in the area. During one time that I dreamt this recurring dream, I saw my paternal grandfather walking around the building and when I approached him, he kind of said with his body language, "What do you want? I got nothing!" and the dream ended. His hands were out in front at hip height as if showing he had nothing."

 

References:

John Hill. https://www.amazon.com/Home-World-Symmetries-Analytical-Psychology/dp/1935528009/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=John+Hill+and+home&qid=1614705546&s=books&sr=1-1

Mar 11, 2021
Episode 153 - Chronic Anger: Trapped in Resentment
56:11

Like fire in a wood-burning stove, resentment burns long and hot: bitterness, frustration, and hostility. The fires of resentment are lit when we feel needy and vulnerable and feel wronged and rejected. This old human story is told in the biblical tale of brothers Cain and Abel.

When Cain’s offering is judged inferior, Cain takes it out on Abel. He acts--and acts out—defensively to insulate himself from shame and culpability by killing Abel. Cain’s subsequent mark symbolizes the psychic price of resentment. Creating a new human story means facing, feeling and healing from the fruitless quest for reparation. We must instead accept even awful disappointment and seek new possibility. The story of Cain and Abel is a tale of the archetypal masculine. Healing is likely to lie in discovering one’s tender, embracing feminine soul.   

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I'm at an apartment's open house. I know that the place was previously owned by someone considered to be very social and popular. The apartment is right downtown, prime location for shopping and partying. It is also attached to a well-known café/bar. As I'm looking around, I find that the ceilings are very low and I'm hunched over as I move through the rooms and open closets ('cause closet space matters!). I start to have my doubts even though there's a part of me that really wants to live here to be popular too. I sit down with the real estate agent and the café owner. They are playing really loud rock music, the kind of music that just sounds like awful noise to my ears. I mentally retreat from the scene by delving into a book. The café owner looks at me and says that I'm not really a fit for the vibe of the place, which he wants to be the same as before. I agree, although reluctantly."

 

References:

Ronald Fairbairn:

https://www.amazon.com/Psychoanalytic-Studies-Personality-W-Fairbairn/dp/0415107377/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Ronald+Fairbairn&qid=1614015944&s=books&sr=1-1

Melanie Klein:

https://www.amazon.com/Selected-Melanie-Klein-Juliet-Mitchell/dp/0029214815/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=Melanie+Klein&qid=1614016134&s=books&sr=1-5

John Bowlby:

https://www.amazon.com/Secure-Base-Parent-Child-Attachment-Development/dp/0465075975/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=john+bowlby&qid=1614016385&s=books&sr=1-2

Mar 04, 2021
Episode 152 - Navigating Young Adulthood: Risks & Rewards
01:04:57

The twenties are a period of emerging adulthood, a time to engage in the maturational tasks of finding one’s place in the wider world and forming intimate relationships. This stage of life calls for the ego strength necessary to make initial choices about work, intimacy, money, lifestyle and values. The protections and constraints of family, education, and culture are no longer unquestioned.

It is time to engage life on one’s own authority: take appropriate risks, tolerate anxiety, weather disappointments—and reap the rewards of growing self-confidence and life competencies, lest isolation and stasis ensue. Embark bravely and with an open heart; learn to balance aspiration and reality, passion and practicalities. Jung says, “If one lives life then surely something should come from it. You see, life wants to be real; if you love life you want to live really, not as a mere promise hovering above things.” 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I walk into my older brother's bedroom in my childhood home. The room is full of sunlight. I head towards a mirror that is leaning against the window. I pull down my pants to check on a tattoo I recently got on my right thigh (I really did get a tattoo there recently). As I'm pulling my pants down I see another tattoo on my left thigh. It's massive. The tattoo is of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Except where her face should be there is a black square covering her face. I panic and will myself to remove the tattoo with my own mental fortitude. The tattoo began to disappear. Then came back then finally disappeared." 

References:

Erik Erikson. https://www.amazon.com/Stages-Psychosocial-DevelopmentAccording-Erik-Erikson/dp/3656837708/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1UWL0KQ10W1W7&dchild=1&keywords=erik+erikson+stages+of+psychosocial+development&qid=1613407553&sprefix=Erik+Erik%2Caps%2C176&sr=8-2

Poem: Desiderata. https://www.fastquicksearch.com/web?q=Desiderata+the+Poem&qo=relatedSearchNarrow&o=1218739&l=dir

Feb 25, 2021
Episode 151 - Truth Telling: Revelations & Realities
56:40

Subjective truths yield multiple realities—political and religious truths famously differ. Objective truths rely on independent realities—two plus two must ever be four, not five. Jung’s four functions of consciousness help us reconcile inner and outer realities. Sensation causes physiological reactions to untruths in ourselves and in others; our bodies are wired for congruence.

We can also notice and name feelings, beliefs and desires: are we inflamed and defensive, or calm and considered? Our thinking function insists on impartial reason, and intuition lets us know when something is “off.” Conscious functions of sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition allow us to engage all our faculties of knowing. Centered in self, we can regard the decision, person, or situation at hand with internal integrity that is congruent with external reality: truth.  

Here's the dream we analyze:

The Strange Visitor: "I was in my house, the one my family and I have lived in for the past 16 years. It’s a small ranch. But in my dream, there was no furniture and all the walls were painted deep, glossy red, almost like blood. But the walls were not in good shape. They were scraped and nicked. On one wall, the drywall was missing completely and the studs were exposed. I was with my two boys, but my wife was not there. Suddenly a man walked in the house who I had never seen before, but somehow I knew exactly who he was. So I asked my two boys (they are teenagers), “Do you know who this is?” They did not know. So I told them, “It’s Mr. Harkness. He used to live here before we did.” (In real life, Mr. Harkness died a few decades ago and we bought the home from his own two sons. When we bought the home, Mr. Harkness’s widow had just died because of a fire in the home; I don’t think she died in it, but in the hospital afterward. Again, I had never met Mr. Harkness and I’ve never thought about him.). He appeared in my dream as an old man with silver frame glasses and a tan Carhartt jacket. For some reason, I asked him, “What was it like to live here in 1955?” (That’s when the home was built). To which he replied in a very ominous tone, “I don’t know, I wasn’t the first one to live here, there was another before me.” I was very surprised and didn’t believe him, because I thought I knew he was the one who built the home. So the four of us began to inspect the home and saw it was in rough shape. But it’s strange, because though it looked rough, it was still very bright and sunny inside and felt hopeful. When we saw the wall with missing drywall and exposed studs, I said right away to my two sons, “Well, boys, let’s go to the hardware store and get some supplies to fix this wall today.” I assumed Mr. Harkness would be impressed with my work ethic and drive to get the house repaired so quickly. But he simply moved slowly to the corner of the home where the broken down wall met another wall, and he leaned over, pointed to the floor, and said, “Do you see that? Plumbing tape. You need to fix that plumbing there first. Son, take your time, it doesn’t need to be fixed today. You don’t want to miss anything important like this.” I breathed a sigh of relief." 

 

References

The Master and His Emissary, by Iain McGilchrist

The Nix, by Nathan Hill

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Feb 18, 2021
Episode 150 - Facing Your Feelings: Avoidance or Encounter?
01:04:40

While we welcome “good” feelings, we often try to banish “bad” ones like sadness, fear, vulnerability and shame. We may deny them by trying to “think positive.” We may attribute them to political wrongs or even the barking dog next door. If emotions have nowhere else to go, they become symptoms, complexes, and even physical illnesses. Avoiding negative emotions simply causes them to go underground and express themselves in disguise.

Jung says, “Our emotions happen to us; affect occurs at the point at which our adaptation is weakest and at the same time exposes the reason for its weakness.” So what is calling for encounter instead of avoidance, displacement or somatization? Feelings are information—they do not necessarily mandate action, nor do they originate externally. Notice them, name them--and look to your dreams, for the unconscious compensates nightly for what consciousness avoids. Something may be pursuing you. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I saw a bride in a white dress sitting behind a small table in a candlelit, cave-like room. Her groom was standing/waiting across the room. It was an arranged marriage but of their own volition. The bride stood up as a signal that the marriage would occur. They looked into each other’s eyes and knew the marriage was right. This part of the dream seemed to be in close-ups of their eyes and lasted what seemed like a couple of minutes. The sense of certainty seemed to have been there, either two weeks before or after the marriage. "

References: 

Inside Out (film).

On the Way to the Wedding: Transforming the Love Relationship, by Linda Leonard (Amazon).

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1570627118/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_XYZKF14Y5NGZM0VGR9RH

It'ss Not Always About Depression by Hilary Jacobs Hendel

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0399588140/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_JX1R3HSRBNV2HXZH8A9P

Resources:

Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/ 

Feb 11, 2021
Episode 149 - Self-Loathing: What’s Gnawing on Your Bones?
01:03:06

The judgmental inner voice has volume, speed, pitch and range. It may appear as a perfectionistic critic, demanding taskmaster, or abusive bully. It also seeps in through the collective, with criteria for beauty, status, and wealth that are unrealistic and artificial. At its worst, this punitive, shaming complex incites self-destructive behavior, and has long been imaged by witches, warlocks, ogres and fiends.

Most of us would never treat anyone as badly as we sometimes treat ourselves. This internalized dynamic seesaws between extremes of idealized expectations and punitive backlash that pretends to be ‘for our own good.’ Like Sisyphus, we labor to roll the stone of achievement uphill when what is needed is self-acceptance, compassion, and the courage to confront the negative voice. Authentic encounter creates a vessel for transformation through consciousness. It makes room for choice, freedom—and soulful self-acceptance.  

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I found a tiny fish in the sink. It was really beat up but alive, so I got a bowl of water for it and put it there, but it immediately started outgrowing the bowl. I got a bigger bowl but as soon as I put it there, the fish got bigger. I got a tub of water and put it there and it got even bigger. It had stripes and it was looking at me and interacting with me the whole time. This fish seemed to have a soul." 

References:

Robert Firestone. Overcoming the Destructive Inner Voice: True Stories of Therapy and Transformation. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071D7ZNLS/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Y1SXYA5KCYZBYZR4Y3EZ

Feb 04, 2021
Episode 148 - MYTH AS MEDICINE: An Interview with Kwame Scruggs, PhD
58:35

Kwame Scruggs inspires men through mythology, drumming and connection to community and culture. As a young man Kwame discovered his inner fire through African-based initiatory rites. He asked himself “What is it I really want to do? Not what could I do. What did I want to do?”

His passion for myth and drumming led him to graduate studies and creating programs in which story is the catalyst for inspired manhood and realization of potential. Story, fellowship and rhythm create an alchemical mixture that facilitates connection with self and others and the deep archetypal wellsprings of mature masculinity. As one participant exclaimed, “It works—it really works!” Alchemy, Scruggs’ award-winning program for young men, is the backdrop of a documentary film, Finding the Gold Within. On February 6 Kwame Scruggs brings his wisdom to a four-week online program, Men and Mythology (link below). 

 

Here's the dream we analyze

"I am in an enormous, old building with a male friend. We are on a trip in a Middle Eastern, South Asian or North African country, and this building houses a huge market full of people, goods and activity. We, however, are in a big dusty storage/junk room, and there is no one else there. The ceilings are extremely high and light fills the room from windows near the top. The room is a pleasant warm color, and I feel contented. We aren't doing anything in particular and have no agenda. I have no problems, questions or desires. My friend goes into an adjoining room that is also very large and stores old, forgotten stuff, but it's completely dark. I can only make out the body of a dead man on a table and can only see his feet, which have a mummified appearance. My friend approaches the body, which surprises and somewhat alarms me. He reaches out and removes the tag from its toe. He flings it toward me while bent over with laughter. I turn away and the tag lands on the back of my left shoulder. I'm aware that we don't know the cause of death and think there could be smallpox on the tag for all we know. I'm not scared, though, just a bit disgusted and very annoyed."

References:

https://salomeinstitute.com/seminars/men-mythology-kwame-scruggs-february

Michael Meade. Men & the Water of Life (Amazon)

Jan 28, 2021
Episode 147 - The Archetype of the Good King
01:17:57

The king is figured prominently in myth, religion, and fairy tale. This compelling archetypal image has roots in our earliest human beginnings, when the king embodied his tribe’s earthly vitality and supra-human connection to spirit. Today, the king symbolizes universal psychic functions; each of us has an internal ruler. Like Solomon, the king presides over standards of ordering and lawgiving that undergird processes of discernment and decision.

As warrior, the king protects and defends the kingdom of selfhood he has built; he has access to aggression and takes responsibility for the consequences of his actions. The masculine principle is also a symbol of the fertilizing presence that creates new psychic life and fuels libido for growth. And the king has the power to confer blessings. Like King Arthur, he provides all aspects of internal life with a seat at the round table of consciousness—and wholeness. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I'm in a beautiful old building, it looks to be a library with large windows and oak desks. I'm there to talk to a man that my bossy/controlling neighbor friend is interested in. She wants me to convince him to ask her on a date. I'm carrying the book How to Be An Adult by David Richo in a semi-translucent grocery bag. As I start talking to him, we really hit it off and I'm very attracted to him; I want him for myself. Getting caught up in our connection, I almost forget why I'm there to talk to him but I also completely forget my friend's name. I go looking for her and find her bathing in a large metal tub in a back room of the library and I'm scared to tell her I didn't do what I was supposed to do (and that I even betrayed her in a way). I'm trying to get her to tell me how to pronounce her name, acting as if I still remember it but just can't pronounce it. The dream ends there."

References

Robert Moore. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine.

Sir James George Frazer. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. 

Jordan Peterson. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Bella Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. 

Jan 21, 2021
Episode 146 - INFLATION: The Challenge of Archetypal Possession
01:13:46

Inflation applies to balloons, economics--and psychology. Jung defined it as being seized by archetypal energy resulting in “a puffed up attitude, loss of free will, delusion, and enthusiasm for good and evil alike.” Inflation is more than a “swelled head” because the influx of unconscious contents leads to identification with god-like powers.

In Greek myth Phaeton became inflated when the sun god, Helios, acknowledged him as his son. Phaeton then asked to drive his father’s chariot, pulling the sun across the sky. He could not control the powerful horses, scorched the earth, and was killed. Arrogating god-like powers to oneself eclipses self-awareness and disaster ensues. Inflation can be expressed outwardly as power-seeking grandiosity or inwardly as self-sacrificing suffering. It is present in unrealistic risk-taking, frenzied creativity, spiritual illusions, the entitlement of toddlers and teens, and in collective excesses. Mobs are inflated, flouting the constraints of civilization, culture, and common sense. The antidote to inflation is humility, service, and love.

Here's the dream we analyze:

"Midway up a mountain I tried to get rid of my son, who was the size of a baby Yoda. My last attempt was to throw him into water in hopes it breaks and he freezes to death. He gets close a few times but always comes back to me. At this time I hear a woman in the distance yelling, telling me to stop and saying she would help and asking for my number. I ignore her and decide I better just grab my son and head up the mountain.

I put him under my shirt as he hugs my chest -- he is freezing but warming up quickly. The last half of the mountain has a huge canvas sheet over it colored yellow, black and orange. I grip it with my hand and climb up. It’s hard and at no point does it ever ease up. My muscles are burning and I’m losing strength. When I’m near the edge to get to the top I have to give everything to get up top. I almost fell but I did make it. Once up I find a hidden compartment that has food and water. I rest before we descend. The lady made it up and she has a guy with her. She asked if I used the canvas to make it up. I said yes...she replied it’s beginning to tear so she didn’t use it. I showed her the compartment. She began talking about descending and not using the zipline to make it down this time. I tell her I need to practice ascending and descending vertically more."

Jan 14, 2021
Episode 145 - Willpower: Choice, Energy & the Power to Achieve
01:19:01

The ability to choose and exercise will is a defining characteristic of humans. Only humans have enough energy available to consciousness to escape the rule of instinct. Jung says, “the realm of will cannot coerce instinct nor has it power over spirit,” so ego shall not dictate to psyche but find alignment with instinct and spirit, values and volition, before springing into pursuit of a goal.

We must first choose to attend to ourselves, consider the size, worth, and cost of the goal—and then practice parenting ourselves through the journey to achieving it. The nurturing inner parent is neither punitive and depriving nor lax and indulgent, but helps us chart a course between immediate gratification and long-term fulfillment. Willpower is in service to harmony and wholeness.

Here's the dream we analyze:

"Scene 1: I received a huge certificate/invitation that said I had been chosen for special study among others in my class. It was a big 30x40” purple and white piece of sturdy paper. At first I thought I wasn't going to get it but I did. Although I felt like someone had given it to me just because I was upset that I didn't get one and it probably showed. The rest of the people who got it were the quiet, timid ones in the class. So this extra invitation or opportunity to learn presented by the certificate ensured this was their opportunity to shine. I was with a young guy carrying stuff in an elevator that descended past the ground floor to levels A,B,C,D,E. We stopped at Level E. That's where the training (from the certificate scene) would take place. I was eager but also anxious about going so far down beneath ground level. We walked out of the elevator into a corridor that was of concrete blocks and there were lights spaced out along the walls in equal distance. I had the feeling it was damp like a basement. I don't remember if we went anywhere past that.

Scene 2: I saw different size bodies of water from above. I wanted to picnic by one of them. All of them had alligators in them so kayaking or swimming was out of the question. They were kind of marshy, with different vegetation growing around. I was with a girl. We picked a small pond and sat on its edge on something like a concrete slab that had a built-in bench-like feature. I was carrying two small, transparent organisms in my hand that I had to make sure not to lose or let them die. They were cup shaped. I was incredibly careful when placing them on the concrete and went to pick some tiny vegetation from the edge of the lake for them to rest and feed on. We talked and I noticed that one organism was trying to eat or hump the other except they weren't cup-shaped anymore but were rather elongated, resembling an ancient, less developed and basic structure like an insect with wings (like bee wings). They were still transparent. I think I tried to separate them but didn't want to hurt them so I didn't really intervene much, just kind of worried a bit if I should or how to intervene."

References:

Books by Robert A. Johnson

Jan 07, 2021
Episode 144 - Fierce Female Initiations: Claiming Authority & Selfhood Through Trials
01:07:45

Mythological Paths to Personal Potential

Myths and fairy tales depict women’s initiation into authority and adulthood. Hades abducted Kore (maiden) into the underworld; Snow White choked on a poisoned apple and lay in stasis; Aphrodite punished forsaken Psyche with arduous tasks. As all were blossoming into the fullness of their beauty and fertility, all were also in thrall to innocence complexes that blinded them to realities of envy, aggression, and power, imaged as rapist, step-mother, and mother-in-law.

Women’s initiation into adulthood and authority involves encountering shadow, finding inner fire, taking action, and wielding power. Kore became queen of the underworld; Snow White metabolized the poison and revived; Psyche reclaimed her mate and ascended to Mt. Olympus. Female initiation involves relational trauma and the sacrifice of a naively romantic and other-oriented stance. This mythological pattern points to the potential for finding clear-eyed selfhood, life direction, and the will to achieve goals.

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I was playing a concert with a famous elder statesman of bluegrass. We play a funny song about a cat that travels with its owner in a semi-tractor trailer, across the USA.  The song begins with me playing the bass and with the cat making some kind of meow. My cat (all grey, yellow eyes, born without a tail) was lying next to me on stage, curled up on top of a stool.v The cat's presence gave me comfort, humor and warmth. At end of song the lights went dark. A spotlight forms above the elder statesman, casting shadows across his features. He turns to me and gets very close to my face. I feel pressure at being the focus of attention. He produces a large stack of cards below his chin and starts showing them to me, one by one. At first the cards and numbers don't make sense. He draws 10 then 13 - maybe he can't guess the numbers my mind is picking. All of a sudden the "trick" begins to work. He picks 24, 48 and 72.  He is drawing the cards I’m thinking of and from a very large stack. These numbers are bigger than a deck of playing cards, yet they are similarly designed, quite intricate. I’m shocked, not afraid, that he knows the numbers. The elder smirks a slight, knowing smile."

References:

Michael Meade. The Water of Life: Initiation and Tempering of the Soul. 

Mary Pipher. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. 

Carol Gilligan. In a Different Voice. 

Paul Foster Case. Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of Ages. 

Dec 31, 2020
Episode 143 - Scrooge on the Couch: How the Numinous Transforms
01:16:11

Something's going on in Scrooge's soul...and it's tired of waiting for an invitation.

Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, vividly portrays the journey to healing and transcendence. It was written in a fever, released on December 19, 1843, and sold out before Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge’s visitations by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are vivid depictions of the path from trauma to transformation. As in psychotherapy, Scrooge revisits his past; by reclaiming the feelings he exiled as a child, Scrooge discovers compassion and connection.

The visitation to the present shows Scrooge familial abundance of spirit despite material poverty and possible death for Tiny Tim (also a representation of Scrooge’s own emotionally crippled inner child). The last scene, like the lysis of a dream, shows Scrooge the bleak future to which his miserly ways lead. Scrooge’s encounters with transpersonal power break through his defenses and transform him into a man of joyful and generous heart. Scrooge has learned from his former partner’s ghost that:

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”  

And so, as Tiny Tim declared, "God bless Us, Every One!”

Dec 24, 2020
Episode 142 - The Archetype of the Divine Child: Light Reborn
01:01:45

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. Luke 2:10 

The divine child appears when least expected, new potential born from the womb of the unconscious. Helpless and blessed and against all reason, the divine child represents the creative union of opposites that births a new beginning. Every new beginning is a divine child, and mythological revelations since ancient times greet new psychic potential with awe and adoration. Miraculous birth signals initiation into individuation and the preordained destiny of sacred and heroic figures across cultures and through time is also our own.

The lives of Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Heracles, Horus, and Ganesha portray a Guiding Self-sustaining them through the hard human work of growing toward wholeness. Jung says, “You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning. If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning…” 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I am perched high on a cliff looking down on a horrifyingly beautiful sight. There is a rugged coastline with clear blue water that is inexplicably and immensely deep immediately at the shoreline. Just off the shoreline there are monstrously large (dinosaur comes to mind) sea creatures resembling otherworldly breeds of whale and shark that appear to be dead- floating perfectly still and suspended in the deep, clear water."

Dec 17, 2020
Episode 141 - FANTASY: Do We Have Fantasies or Do They Have Us?
01:03:16

Is fantasizing helpful or harmful?

Fantasy is the process of engagement with unconscious processes, from the depths of the mythic unconscious to the make-believe worlds of online gaming. In passive fantasy we receive products of the unconscious as charged internal images: nighttime dreams, trance states and visions. Passive fantasy transgresses natural law, the limitations of waking life, and cultural restrictions, for in the subterranean realms of psychic experience all is permitted.

Active fantasy allows us to interact with the unconscious and shape our experiences. It lives next door to ideas, reverie, play, intuition, and creativity. Passive or active, fantasy can call us into lives that are larger and more enlivened, or seduce us into escapism impedes adaptation to reality. Today we can consume fantasy, and it can be consuming. Jung’s collaborator, Marie-Louise von Franz said, “The great difficulty is to save the fantasy which is life-giving and cut away the childishness of the wish to realize it.”

Here’s the Dream We Analyze 

“I’m in a small underground room. Near the ceiling, in a shadowy corner, hangs a cocoon or nest. It looks like a felted mitten and contains sleeping baby bats. Frightened, I summon my husband and quietly point out the nest. He agrees that we should take care not to wake the baby bats—for even though they are tiny and blind, they are not vulnerable. I whisper the phrase “dangerous little experts.” We stand as still as we can in the dark. The next scene is outdoors and sunny. I’m in the middle of a street that is normally busy, but now empty. A snowy owl appears before me on the pavement. I again summon my husband, and as we admire the owl, five more snowies arrive. They grow until they stand about four feet tall, then begin hopping and spinning and flapping, almost like they’re performing a ceremonial Native American dance. I suspect they are children wearing feather costumes, but no, they really are owls. My husband and I are thrilled and honored. The street seems alive with magic.”

References

Learn to Analyze your Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

Quoted: Marie Louise von Franz, Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology
https://www.amazon.com/dp/091912304X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_wJCVFbH3X12EK

Dec 10, 2020
Episode 140 - Doubt: Facing Life’s Unknowns
01:03:11

Doubt disturbs us. Unlike the more defined polarities of ambivalence, doubt is pervasive, muddy, and ranges from crippling to constructive. We may doubt our capacity to meet a challenge, achieve a desired outcome, or make the right decision. At a deeper level, doubt can threaten our orientation to reality and erode our sense of self.

Doubt can also help us prepare, increase our capacity to take risks and build confidence in our ability to prevail whether we win or lose. Doubt is about the future—possibilities, and perils. We are called to remain steadfast and chart a course in the face of life’s unknowns, for to court certainty is to seek death of the soul. Jung says, “When you are in doubt you have the greatest opportunity to unite the dark and light sides of life.” And become more whole.

 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I am going on a trip and traveling in a cab with friends. During the journey it gets lively, we are excited. I am dancing, making promises to my friends that I am not thinking about fully, and telling them how judgmental my father is. There is a lot of mess being made too which I am clearing up, it seems like grass I am sweeping up and there is a small pig/dog-like animal with us but I am caught up in the moment and not paying it too much attention. I get a feeling that my behavior is quite obnoxious in front of the driver but I don't stop. We arrive at a boat port, there are lots of people and enormous boats, everyone is getting their stuff loaded for their journeys. I check the time and realize we have 20 minutes to board the boat - I think perfect. I get out of the car look around and as I turn back to the cab I notice it drive off with my stuff. I panic and instantly think the driver didn't like me, that's why he drove off with my luggage. I start running after the car and notice others running after the car too. We run and keep up with the car but are not able to reach it then one of the girls I am running with says she has the driver’s number on her phone. I shout at her to call him urgently."

Dec 03, 2020
Episode 139 - Visionary Imagination: Jung’s Private Journals
53:26

We welcome Sonu Shamdasani, PhD, scholar and historian of depth psychology and Jung’s opus. His research and expertise were instrumental in bringing Jung’s Red Book to the public in 2009. Jung’s Black Books, the journals in which he recorded “my most difficult experiments,” have just been published. We discuss Jung’s encounters with figures and images from his psychic depths--experiences foundational to Jung’s subsequent work and which opened a portal to humankind’s imaginal mind and mythic substrata.

The Philemon Foundation, which Dr. Shamdasani co-founded in 2003, is dedicated to bringing forward more of Jung’s unpublished manuscripts and correspondence—and now needs financial support to continue bringing Jung’s vital ideas to the world. Please click on the link below to learn more about the Philemon Foundation and how to support its work. 

How You Can Help:

You can help bring CG Jung’s unpublished manuscripts to press by donating here: https://philemonfoundation.org/donate/

 

References:

The Black Books may be purchased at a discount: https://philemonfoundation.org/purchasing-philemon-series-books/

 

Resources:

Learn to Interpret Your Own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/ 

Nov 26, 2020
Episode 138 - Spider Parents: Finding Freedom from Dependence
01:06:17

The spider is a symbol of generative and destructive capabilities. As creator, spider spins the sustaining web of life. As predator, spider’s sticky web is an inescapable trap. Parents weave webs of familial ties, cultural norms, and generational patterns that contain—or restrain--their children. Emotional strings of attachment or enmeshment affect how—or if—a young adult child is released into the world.

A net of comfort and connection can become a web of entanglement and stultification. The tale of Sleeping Beauty portrays the stasis that ensues when parents try to protect their child from future dangers. Hindering destiny’s call to independence and individuation only obstructs the flow of life. Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. Kahlil Gibran

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I was on a hospital bed, due to a heart attack. Doctors were trying to send an electric wave to measure my heart damage--and I was terrified of the pain it may cause. Doctors told me that if it hurts I need surgery immediately. I was watching the screen, and it didn’t hurt at all. Doctors told me that my heart was really strong and that I can go home. I felt relieved. Then a nurse walked over to me and handed a piece of paper, a note from someone, and said I have to go see this other patient. The note was from Su, a high school female friend that betrayed me, a person that I don't think about at all. The note said that I need to take care of her babies. I was so confused. I walked over to the room, found her sitting on the bed. She pointed the babies to me and asked for help. I didn't talk to her. She has just given birth, and 3 little bundles were in a crib next to her. I lifted the bundles and they didn't look like babies, they were marble white and looked weird. Almost looked like the Hindu god with the elephant trunk- god Ganesh I think. I dropped them on the floor. I wanted to check whether they are real. I filled them with milk and said they are alive. I was so confused. I woke up." 

Nov 19, 2020
Episode 137 - QAnon: Ancient Lies & Sexual Slanders
01:23:38

QAnon is a recent iteration of a historical pattern: Romans persecuted Christians, Christians libeled Jews, and citizenries hunted witches. When existing social structures break down, psychological splitting ensues in an effort to counteract fear and re-establish certainty. Collective projections demonize a selected ‘other’ and tend toward lurid attributions of badness: pedophilia, blood drinking, and devil worship.

At the same time collectives project their need for leadership and unity onto a leader, investing the person with larger-than-life qualities. The mythic unconscious creates a dualistic division between ‘above and below’-- religious purity and righteousness versus ‘beasts of darkness,’ especially sex and aggression. Depth psychology focuses on the middle ground of soul, the realm of potential human wholeness. Without spiritual bypasses or fiends we may own our sexual, psychological and spiritual realities and develop a symbolic understanding of the myths we live in. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I found myself in an enormous mansion, entirely empty; it was like a Jane Austen ball room. I was alone. A man with an Afro and a baby in a baby Bjorn walked past one of the many giant windows, snow behind him. He saw me and looked petrified. Running inside, he wanted to know what I was doing there, saying that this was the devil’s house. The town had gotten together years before and killed the devil. A prophecy was made that the next person to enter the house would be the devil. He said the townspeople now wanted the devil back because they were fighting so much more now, getting divorces, as they no longer had anyone to blame for their problems. I said I didn't want to be the devil and protested. Then my vision went black and I saw the silhouette of four distinct animal faces rushing toward me. The only one I remember is the goat." 

 

References

Bradley Tepaske

http://jungiananalyst.org/bradley_tepaske_phd.htm

Bradley Tepaske’s publications can be found at: 

https://chironpublications.com/shop/sexuality-and-the-religious-imagination/

Poem: Sometimes a Wild God by Tom Hirons

https://tomhirons.com/poetry/sometimes-a-wild-god

 

Nov 12, 2020
Episode 136 - REVIVING OUR CAPACITY TO FEEL: The Core of Jung’s Legacy
02:30:07

Marie-Louise von Franz, Jung’s close collaborator, capped her public work in a 1986 lecture that summarized Jung’s signal contributions to understanding the human experience. Jung was concerned that rationalism, quantitative methodologies, and the objectification of people and animals had become one-sided, resulting in ethical and empathic deficiencies. He felt the over-development of professional personas—even among physicians and psychotherapists—led to avoiding authentic encounters. Sentimentality, a superficial expression of feeling, could be used to mask cruelty, including to animals.

For Jung, relationship to the sacred was foundational, and was the true source of an ethical stance. He felt that a well-developed feeling function, the conscious development of empathy, and differentiated relatedness are at the heart of the human endeavor. The feminine principle of eros is central to his work. This Jungian Life explored von Franz’ insightful and moving summation of her understanding of Jung and his work in a presentation for the Washington, D.C. Jung Society.

Nov 05, 2020
Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away?
01:02:18

The hair on the back of our necks bristles in response to the horrors of the uncanny. Transfixed by shock, awe, dread and fascination, we can neither dare the dangerous darkness nor turn away. The mysteries of the unknown take us into realms of transgression and taboo.

Enthrallment and abhorrence mix in encounters with all that is alien and dispossessed. We face our own human monstrosities and the traumas that create them. We also meet the dark, nonhuman otherness of the collective unconscious; it threatens to possess us and can annihilate our sense of self. Whether we shudder in disgust, quiver in fright, or feel forbidden attraction, we are forced to more fully acknowledge the awful portent of ominous misfortune and confront the abyss. Only consciousness can break the spell.  

Dream

"In my dream I was talking with my therapist on Zoom. The topic of our conversation wasn't clear, but I had the sense that my therapist kept misunderstanding what I was saying. He then did the "share screen" feature on Zoom to show me that he had been keeping a record on his computer of the different ways that I was wrong about who I thought I was. For example, he said that I thought that I was a kind person, but he had determined I was only kind 40% of the time. As he showed me this, a graph appeared across my face, and I had the sense that he had been spending our time together taking measurements of my face and wasn't listening to what I was saying. The dream then changed and I was outdoors standing next to a Native American man in traditional dress. The man was working with cloth. I approached him and he told me that he was working on creating a garment similar to the one that he was wearing that he was going to give as a gift to his son."

 

References

Greg Mogenson. God is a Trauma: Vicarious Religion and Soul-Making (Amazon) 

Lisa’s quotation from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche (Amazon). 

Oct 29, 2020
Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness
01:02:08

There are few more painful thoughts or frightening events than suicide, a phenomenon unique to the human species. Depression, rage, and powerlessness can overwhelm ego functions, leading someone to believe that escaping life is the only option. Affects of archetypal proportions can act like tsunamis in the psyche. What can help?

A supportive other can offer protection, options, and hope. Willingness to engage in mental health and medical treatment is critical, as is the development of a symbolic attitude: what value, belief, or ambition may need to die instead of being concretized as physical death? Similarly, what maturational task, sacrifice, or fate is asking to be met?

Facing suicidal thoughts can bring the potential for new life, but when death occurs bereavement can be especially painful for families and friends. One of the tasks of mourning is accepting that each of us is ultimately, and sometimes tragically, responsible for our life. 

 

Dream

I see a baby approximately a month old. It is my baby, and it has been crying a lot. I see that he is wet, so much so that his blanket is also wet. I am in horror as I try to understand why is he so wet, even with the diaper on. I wonder for how long did I not check on him. I change him, while doing [I see] that his leg is so fragile that if I hold it twists. I panic. I look at my hands and they are shaking. I get scared and criticize myself and wonder if I would be able to take care of him. In the end, he has been changed and cleaned and I am holding him in my arms, it's peaceful now and I feel much better. 

 

References

Jan Bauer. Impossible Love: Or Why the Heart Must Go Wrong (Amazon).

Oct 22, 2020
Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands
01:15:06

The world is the canvas on which we paint our lives. Through this lifelong work, we express personal vision, develop skills, and come to terms with the realities of our outer and inner worlds. The first major stage of adaptation, the transition from child to adult, requires readiness to separate from protective life structures in pursuit of outer world goals. It entails developing a strong, flexible ego devoid of overly negative or idealistic beliefs about self and world, a progressive orientation, and ability to cope with disappointment.

In the second half of life, the adaptive task is introverted, and consists of relating to and integrating contents of the unconscious. While most of us come to recognize and adapt to ego’s limited control over external-world actualities, realizing the autonomy of the inner world is less universal. Jung described this process in his memoir, Memories, Dreams, Reflections as his confrontation with the unconscious. This process of adaptation led him--and can lead us--to living in relationship to something larger, the Self.

 

Dream

I'm standing outside of a pool and my sons (6 and 10) are in the pool with my ex-husband. My mother is sitting near me. I realize I need to go to the bathroom and shout to my ex-husband to take care of our youngest son. As I turn my back at the pool I see a frogman, he has the body of a man and the head of a frog. He is sitting as a frog on the floor.

I'm surprised and fascinated by it. His skin is dark blue with small light green and light blue freckles. His eyes are green. It is raining and he seems to be enjoying the water. I call my brother so he can see the creature; my brother appears as a little boy and the frogman sits at a table with my brother that asks him many questions about his origin. The frogman speaks to my brother while I go to the bathroom. When I return the frogman is sitting on a small stairway, like waiting for me. I see him and I ask him if I can touch his skin. He lets me touch his arm; it is shiny and beautiful like a night full of stars.

I don't remember if I kiss him or hug him. He asks me to go with him and I tell him that I have other things to do. I walk down a street and find a busy avenue with heavy traffic. I have to cross to the other side but it seems hard, like a complex coordination of moves and traffic lights. I see the frogman walking on the other side of the avenue. 

 

References

C.G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Amazon). 

Oct 15, 2020
Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places
01:07:18

Although neurosis is no longer a clinical diagnosis, it is often used to describe anxious attitudes and behaviors that are maladaptive to life situations. Neurosis often entails a capacity to function well despite feeling bad; emotional suffering leeches ease and pleasure from life. A neurotic symptom—a phobia, compulsion, or addictive tendency—is no different from a dream.

It is important to hear the unconscious story ego has disallowed, welcome fantasies, fears, and instinctual life, and understand their symbolic meaning. Symptoms ask us to know ourselves as we really are so that we can live the life we are meant to be living. Jung says neurosis “must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.” The purpose of neurosis is to help us discover our purpose. 

 

Dream

I am with my family. I go to the kitchen, as this isn't my family's home. I have broken glass inside my mouth; I open my mouth to try and get it out. There aren't many shreds but they are tiny and sharp, I can't get rid of everything, my tongue bleeds but the blood is curdled, dry, dark and thick. As I'm trying to remove the glass with both hands I realize I have broken glass on my lips, too. The shredded glass is inside both lips, and the blood is coagulated and my lips shrank.

Now I have broken glass inside my nostrils; I can't breathe from my nose. I just can't, I breathe through my mouth. I bleed profusely but the blood is thick and dark, dry and slimy, it's coagulated. I pull it out like an endless slime that just won't come out all at once. I'm suffocating, no air gets through my nostrils, it's all blocked.

I call my brother for help. I complain about it saying I can't breathe and I can't handle it alone. But he doesn't show up. Other things happen in the dream after this that I can't remember, but somehow I end up again in this kitchen with blocked nostrils - because of thick blood, not glass anymore - and now the thick blood has covered my chin, my neck; it's awful and I can't stop it. The blood is dark, slimy and dry (not shiny like slime). I call my dad for help. He appears in front of me. I am persuaded that he's the one who can help me. I wake up. 

 

Oct 08, 2020
Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change
01:16:50

We celebrate curiosity’s role in discovery, and regret its potential for damage. Mature curiosity demands that we embrace the confusion, doubt and anxiety inherent in engaging new ideas and complex problems. Social curiosity requires discernment: are we genuinely and empathically interested in others, or simply indulging voyeurism via social media?

Curiosity can lead us into thrill seeking, but lack of it dulls our libido for life. Is it grandiosity, ambition, or impulsive desire that is tweaking our interest—or is curiosity leading us into purpose, service and the numinous? We need to be curious about curiosity: what are we enacting--and why? In the unrestrained theater of our dreams even the most disallowed outer-world scenarios are played out. Dreams can do much to satiate and integrate the shadowy curiosities of the inner world if we remember, record, and reflect on them. 

 

Dream

I am in a dreary kind of industrial place full of single-story warehouse or farm type sheds/buildings - everything is grey. I don't relish being there but I am resigned to it. I look up again at the shed I'm standing next to and am surprised to see a beautiful mural has appeared on it's concrete apex (the triangular bit under the roof) - I don't remember exactly the image but it is full of blue and movement.

I walk on to the next smaller row of sheds and in one I find skeletal figure of a man who is very sick and being tended to. The man is more skeleton than person, he has no eyes, only eye sockets for example, and is blackened/scorched: parts of his flesh seem about to fall away. I remember him as a famous actor, someone once very charismatic and good-looking, it is terrible to see him reduced to this. He is being moved from bed to chair by two nurse-type figures whom I do not see clearly. I go to help and hold his head - I am disgusted a little but also terrified that his head will come away in my hands if I am not careful enough. Once he is installed I move away.

I find myself in another larger room next door where a group of people I do not know are gathered for a purpose I do not understand. I leave and go back out into the grey yard, but then feel an urge to reconnect with the man. I find another of these nurse-type figures who tells me he is with his wife and family now. I feel a little disappointed/left out but also glad for him that even in his repulsive/decrepit state he is surrounded by loved ones and is cared for. 

 

References:
Giorgio Tricarico. Lost Goddesses: A Kaleidoscope on Porn.

Verena Kast. Father-Daughter, Mother-Son: Freeing Ourselves from the Complexes that Bind Us.

Far From Heaven (film with Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid).

Oct 01, 2020
Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals
01:13:44

Jung states “the main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neurosis but rather with the approach to the numinous…the real therapy. In as much as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology.” Jung defines numinous as “a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will” that conveys a mysterious yet deeply meaningful message.

Numinous experiences happen to us, yet we can approach the numinous by engaging in practices like active imagination, recording dreams, or religious and esoteric modalities. Wisdom traditions—and Jung—have marked the trails. Life crisis and trauma can also open us to the numinous: fairy tales, myths, and religious texts relate happenings of help when all seemed lost. Whether sought or suffered, something greater appears when ego yields. We can act on the guidance that is given, and may attain the healing gifted by experience of the numinous. 

 

Dream

I have a joined a circle of men and women studying something psychological. I watch and wait for their leader to welcome me but he wanders off. It is part of a festival and people are lying around sexually pleasuring each other. I explore downstairs but when I come back the workshop members have put on costumes of gods and goddesses (the theme is Celtic, Nordic) They are coming to a gate at the centre of the ritual and I am in the way.

Suddenly, a door opens and I'm pulled out of the way. It is the workshop leader and he takes me to a workbench. I can't remember his name but his book is on the bench. He is called Loki. Suddenly, the screw falls out of my glasses frame and lens falls out. I look on the floor but it is made of sand and there are lots of screws which are too big.

After a long search, with no success, I discover something thin and fine in my mouth. I take it out. It is part of my glasses. There is more in my mouth. It is a sliver of the lens and rather than being plastic it is made of glass. I must get it out of my mouth or I will swallow and cut my own throat.

 

References:

William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (Amazon). 

C.S. Lewis. The Problem of Pain (Amazon).

Sep 24, 2020
Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation
01:18:44

Jung teaches that soul and spirit have a home in a living body, the font of psyche’s images and means of their incarnation in the world. Embodiment is the ground of being, and engaging the tension between instinct and archetype shapes consciousness and character. Jung identified five instincts: creativity, movement, sexuality/eros, hunger in its many manifestations, and the ability to reflect and make meaning.

If Pinocchio’s task was to humanize his instincts, much of modern man’s mission may be to re-establish vibrant connection with instinctual life. Jung says, “The archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives; it is the sea to which all rivers wend their way, the prize which the hero wrests from the fight with the dragon.” The rigorous refining of instinct through embodied, conscious action is the path toward wholeness.

 

Dream

I was waiting for a young man to pick me up for our second date, but he was late. I was in a park and there was a fair, and I ran into some of my childhood friends who were quite surprised about my date. So they started harassing me with questions about who he was and, mostly, why he was late. I didn't have his phone number, so I didn't know.

I had with me a backpack, laptop, kindle, handbag, another bag and my stuff kept falling on the ground, and I had to pick it up over and over. It was raining hard, hours had passed and I decided to walk through the fair. There I bought a unicorn-shaped mug, that immediately fell off my hands and became ash as it hit the ground. I was tired and cold and went sitting under a large tree. In the tall grass, emerged a group of people who were shooting at wild ducks.

 

Reference:

Besel van der Kolk: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma (Amazon). 

Sep 17, 2020
Episode 128: Intuition: Non-Rational Knowing
01:13:56

We all have intuitive experiences, from an occasional hunch to powerful gut feelings. Unconscious intelligence is a storehouse of instincts and wisdoms humankind has accumulated over millennia. We would be lost without intuition and give importance to warnings and inspirations that saved or made the day.

We are also skeptical of intuition, which tends to become infused with emotion, superstition, and cultural bias. Altogether, intuition is about the future, from promising possibilities to potential pitfalls. To apply inner perception in meaningful ways we need to balance it with conscious considerations around values, objective assessment, and meaningful action. Intuition can then provide a glimpse of a higher level of reality that can anchor us to purpose. 

 

Dream

I walk outside of my front door and notice a storm is brewing in the grey sky. The wind feels like it could pick me up and take me, but I remain steady and fixated on the intensity and beauty of the sunset. I walk several feet and stand on top of a flowerbed I’ve been building.

I can somehow see all the way down the valley. I instantly hear a loud humming noise coming toward me and when I look up, I notice a giant swarm of bees - they stop and hover above me. They drop, as a whole, to just above my head and then lift up again. I am aware it is scary, but I don’t feel scared. They do it a second time and I lie down in the dirt, gazing up at them.

I’m surprisingly calm. Then when they lift again, suddenly a giant bird (an eagle ??!!) lands just above my head and starts pecking at the ground. The bees drop, almost suffocating me in this space with the eagle violently pecking around my face. I remain frozen and in awe. Then the bees fly away and then the eagle. 

 

References

Jonathan Haidt. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion (Amazon).

Malcolm Gladwell: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Amazon)

Sep 10, 2020
Episode 127 - Seeking Certainty: The Seduction of Conspiracy Theories
01:03:49

In times of uncertainty truth is hard to discern, collective cohesion frays, and social factions become embattled. Unmediated shadow then seeks expression through the archetypal realm and takes on extra-ordinary attributes. Persecutory mythologies arise, for big psychic situations need big stories to compensate for big feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, and marginalization.

Insecurities are projected onto the outer-world as clandestine enemies of mythic proportions: alien rulers, government cabals, and other images of secret domination. Understanding conspiracy theories as symbolic expressions of unconscious contents can allow us to take them seriously without taking them literally. We may then respond with consciousness and empathy instead of judgment--and begin to shift the collective psychic field toward wholeness. 

 

Dream

I am with my housemate, L, and we are in a city. The dream begins with us trying to get an answer to a question about the psychology of animals (I do not remember specifics of the question). We have gone to see a psychologist whose last name is Green. He is writing something on his laptop and when we ask to speak with him he asks for 30 minutes. There are churros in the waiting area, and for some reason I am taking some in a bag.

Somehow I know there is a party that I am supposed to be bringing these back for. There isn’t even a churro machine, a stack of them just continues to appear in the same spot on a desk. Once I have entered the conference room with Dr. Green, I am in the middle of eating a bite of churro and cannot respond to what he is saying, though he is laughing at the fact that my mouth is full of churro. Suddenly, the entire world has changed, I am entering what looks like a room from the back of a club, or maybe an abandoned house?

The dreamscape room has a deep purple color and though there is no light in the room, I can still see. At this point in the dream I become lucid and think “I should make something appear here”, however, a man appears in the room and he begins to wrestle me to the ground. We begin fighting and the face of the man seems to be changing as we roll. I do not recognize him. I have an intuition that I am dancing, however, I decide to fight back against the attacker. I punch the man and the dreamscape changes again. I am in the middle of a living room at the bottom of a tower and realize that I have just punched Dr. Green.

I apologize profusely, and end up saying, “sorry, Dad… I mean… Doc”. I put my hands on my head after this slip up and am feeling very confused. Dr. Green says it’s ok and that we should begin making our way up the tower. I look up and see L climbing the stairs and her face is covered in sweat. Dr. Green begins up the stairs but I realize I can float. I allow myself to float just to see what it is like and then I wake up.

 

References

C.G. Jung. The Undiscovered Self: The Dilemma of the Individual in Modern Society (Amazon). 

Iain McGilchrist. The Master and His Emissary: The divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Amazon). 

Jonathan Haidt. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (Amazon).

Sep 03, 2020
Episode 126 - The Money Complex: Incarnating Our Dreams
01:13:55

Money reflects our shadows and strengths as much as our bank accounts. Like Hermes, money traverses the realms from Hades to Heaven--money can be a matter of survival, and money can turn dreams into realities. Because money represents value we can acquire, exchange, and store, it can become conflated with our value as persons.

Material wealth can become equated with status and self worth—and the lack of it with inadequacy and anxiety. To come into right relationship with money we need to develop a realistic perception of its power and place within a larger personal economy. In a healthy life economy energetic currencies flow freely—we have rich relationships, and wise investments in work and purpose generate psychic interest. Inner treasure allows something of value to come into the world through us. 

 

Dream

I found myself walking down a street in a European-like town until I came upon a group of my peers. One of them proclaimed that the book we had all been searching for was in a bookstore ahead and that she was intent on finding it. As I was also intent on finding this book, I went on ahead. The bookstore was, in fact, nine book stores located in a three story building with three stores on each floor.

I, alone, entered the middle bookstore on the second floor and asked the attendant if she had any special books related to psychoanalysis. After pondering a moment, slightly confused at my request, she remembered that she did have a special book enclosed in a wooden box. It was the book I had been searching for- decorative and ancient looking. I purchased it for $45, thrilled with excitement. I met back with my peers in the library, all of whom were perturbed and annoyed that I was the one who found the book.

"I told you about it and then you go and take it for yourself," one said angrily. I set the book on the table and told them that they are welcome to check it out, as long as they are careful and respectful with it. They all seemed appeased by this motion, yet still slightly bitter, and treated the book with care. Soon after, a famous relationship therapist called my name, asking for my opinion on a matter. I felt shocked that someone of such renown would consider my opinion on anything. She was holding two pictures, one clearly of a bridge, the other obscure. Through analysis of key symbols and images in each picture, we discovered that it was an image of the same bridge, taken at different angles. 

 

References

Myths, Morals & Money –This Jungian Life joins Australian visionary Berry Liberman in a series of six podcasts. See www.thisjungianlife.com.

James Hillman. Soul and Money (Amazon).

Aaron R. Kipnis. The Midas Complex: How Money Drives Us Crazy and What We Can Do About it (Amazon).

Aug 27, 2020
Episode 125 - The Provisional Life: Redeeming the Real
01:05:28

The provisional life might be defined as a vague malaise: current relationships, work, and lifestyle feel like placeholders until the ‘real thing’ arrives—someday. If early life circumstances made over-conforming to others’ needs and expectations necessary, persona can be over-developed and shadow denied.

The person may orient to external sources for self-definition, acceptance and direction, because deep roots in shadow’s dark, fertile soil of authentic feeling and experience are lacking. The recovery and discovery of the true self comes from engaging the inner world: dreams, reverie, creative endeavors, service to something greater—and perhaps a wise guide on the road to wholeness.

Jung says, “If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is somehow violated, and the whole future is condemned to helpless staleness...” Or we can be alive while we’re alive. 

 

Dream

I find myself in an old abandoned church. I am climbing up a ladder and next to me is a being, half-bird & half-human. I feel attracted to her; I kiss her. In the next scene, I push her away from me.

Now she is a bird. Another person helps me to get the bird out of the church. The bird wants to come back in. I have a guilty conscience because I try to push her away from me. Now the bird person is back in the church. And in the last image, I find myself with her walking around the church and the being tells me "people can't fly because they don't have wings."

 

References

Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki).

Mary Oliver. When Death Comes and other poems. 

Aug 20, 2020
Episode 124 - Pets: A Lived Relationship with Soul
01:11:42

When far from life in the wild, relationships with animals are often through pets. We find kinship and difference in our friends of very foreign origin. Pets let us be tender, elicit nurturing, and help heal trauma through secure attachment. Our creatures keep our secrets. They accept our lapses and shadows. They invite us to play and appear in our dreams--and when they are gone, we mourn.

Henry Beston said, “In a world older and more complete than ours [animals] move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.” Through our pets we can stay in touch with the magic and mystery of animal life. They remind us that we are part of a larger, living whole. 

 

Dream

The dream began when I found myself climbing up a steep snowy ledge on a tall cliff. There was a trail of footsteps, as if I had been there before. As I trekked upwards I contemplated my teenage years of debauchery and the lies I told to keep my mother comfortably unaware.

As the cliff’s edge got steeper the snow became much deeper and I continued on all fours, with exhaustion setting in. Upon reaching the top I almost ate some snow feeling, overwhelmed with gratitude, but quickly realized what a poor decision that could potentially be. (Thinking of dirty snow) So I let my body sink into an icy cold bed of snow instead, relaxing all my muscles and regulating my breath at the journeys end.

It felt gratifying to have reached the top, and the sensation of cold snow felt incredible against my skin. I looked up and noticed a small alcove, inside under dark shadows stirred the silhouette of a large raven. Mysterious yet significant, nodding its head toward me as if it had been waiting for my arrival.

 

References

Henry Beston. The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod (Amazon). 

 

Aug 13, 2020
Episode 123 - Every Hero’s Journey
01:32:07

The hero’s journey has been the stuff of story from earliest times. Today’s popular heroes include Harry Potter, Frodo, Spiderman, Neo, and Luke Skywalker. They are all ordinary guys who suddenly receive the Call to Adventure, mythologist Joseph Campbell’s term for the beginning of the journey.

The would-be hero first declines, then answers the call; he suffers tests and trials, succeeds with help from unexpected sources, and returns with the gifts of all he has learned. The hero’s journey is the human story--we are all called to be more, often in seemingly mundane ways.

As we go to work, raise children, and experience setbacks, we are called to sacrifice personal interest and ego-driven desires for the sake of something greater. The hero’s journey is a metaphor for the inner adventure Jung described as individuation, ‘the treasure hard to attain’ and life’s true goal. 

 

Dream

The dream consisted of 3 segments. In the first, I was outdoors, looking up, observing a group of men, they were engaged in some project involving large, structural pieces of architecture e.g. old stone walls. One item was made of clay and included a large carving, I think it was of a face. The men had made a mistake in handling the clay, so that it appeared to have become moldy: white spots had appeared on it.

I thought or heard a voice saying something like "they didn't appreciate that the clay is alive, it breathes, it absorbs and retains moisture." The men were trying to remedy the situation: they poured red wine on the clay, as if that would destroy the mold. In the second part of the dream, I was indoors with other women, in a small, bright jewelry shop or workshop.

A young woman had brought a tiny, delicate watch that had broken. She also brought wonderful, intricate drawings of the watch and the repairs needed. With another woman, I began planning the repair. I was confident we could repair it, but my companion was fretful, fearing we wouldn't be able to. Her worries didn't seem to interfere with my confidence. I continued to explain two possible ways we could repair the watch. In the third part of the dream, I was neither clearly indoors nor outdoors, but in a large, bright space, seemingly boundless, maybe like a marquee or gazebo outdoors.

A woman had given me a task: I was to write, beautifully, the list of guest names for a wedding. A man was nearby, I think he was somehow involved, too. He was a little effeminate. I was left pretty much alone, and the paper with the names was crumpled and stained. 

 

References

C.G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Amazon) 

James Hollis. Mythologems (Amazon). 

Joseph Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Amazon)

Aug 06, 2020
Episode 122 - COVERED: An Archetypal Take on the COVID Mask
58:53

Masks are the symbol of COVID life, and they have archetypal roots as old as humankind. We ward off evil microbial forces with bandanas, neck gaiters, patterned fabrics, and high filtration medical masks. Masks provide access to our shape-shifting potential, connect us to our instinctual depths, mediate our relationship to the spirits, and open a portal to the mythic realm of story and drama.

Masks waft us into new identities: children become superheroes or face-painted animals; women apply make-up, men craft beards, and everyone wears sunglasses that shade us from more than sunlight.

We also wear a social mask, persona, and present different aspects of ourselves to colleagues, Facebook friends, and family—but if we identify with the faces we present to the world we risk defining ourselves according to fixed and superficial attributes. Masks in all their forms affect the experience of wearer and viewers.

 

Dream

I am staying in a large, gothic house in the countryside while some sort of calamity is occurring in the world. I think it is a weather event, as it is raining heavily outside. My adult daughter screams, summoning me to the foot of the imposing stairs, where she has seen a mouse scurrying.

She is desperate that I catch it, and I do, holding it in my fist, against my bare chest. I know it is terribly diseased and that the best thing would be for me to kill it, so I simply crush it. To my horror, and disgust, foul liquid bursts out of the mouse. Now I have this horrible corpse to dispose of and I don’t want my daughter, or anyone else, to see it. I can feel the sticky liquid on my bare skin. I find myself outside in the pouring rain.

The rain is soaking me and now I have a large teddy bear in my arms. The corpse of the mouse is embedded in the teddy bear. As I walk, the bear becomes sodden, heavy and cumbersome. I am looking for somewhere to dispose of it, but nowhere seems suitable. I wake feeling anxious.

Jul 30, 2020
Episode 121 - Not Alone: Finding the Inner Companion
01:02:15

When you’re down, and in trouble, and you need some loving care...

You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, 

I’ll come running to see you again…you’ve got a friend. 

Carole King song

 

The companion has a beloved place in our hearts. Famed modern-day teammates include Captain Kirk and Spock, Frodo and Samwise, Batman and Robin, and Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The companion serves and supports the hero, contributing quieter gifts of guidance, capability, and devotion.

Every companion is an image of the inner Other, and is present whenever gifts of wisdom, care and guidance are received. Our bodies, instincts, and feelings recognize and respond to the companion: a night’s sleep and dreams ease anxiety, a quandary melts into resolution, a new idea shines in mind. The Companion is already and always there. 

 

Dream

I keep making this lucid dream, of bumping into a long-lost best friend of mine. We first happily greet each other, and discuss how long it's been since we last met. But quickly, I realize that I'm indeed dreaming. I try to explain that to him, and ask him for his contact information, such as a phone number, e-mail, or his social media account, to hopefully meet him in the real world... But he always seems either confused, or reluctant.

He just stares at me, smirking, as I try to hurry up and get a way to contact him before the dream ends, but he never gives an appropriate answer, he either avoids the question, or simply walks away, as if he didn't truly want to regain contact with me. 

 

References

Edward C. Whitmont and Sylvia Brinton Perera. Portal to the Source (Amazon).

Henri Corbin. Alone with the Alone (Amazon).

Jul 23, 2020
Episode 120 - Creativity: Drawing from the Inner Well
01:09:53

The root of create, “to bring something into being out of nothing,” echoes divine creation. Ideas arise from mysterious sources, yet creativity is such an intrinsically human function that Jung considered it one of five human instincts, together with hunger, sexuality, activity, and reflection (a function of consciousness).

Positive circumstances foster creativity: the ability to engage imagination, seek novelty, hone competency, and pursue autonomous, intrinsically rewarding activities. Stress inhibits new possibilities, and rigid societies and personalities fear creators, as new ideas and images challenge the status quo. Creativity can also be quashed from within, and one’s internal cynic, doubter, and deflator often shows up disguised as reason. It takes confidence and courage to surmount uncertainty, obstacles, and potential disappointment.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” What wants to come into the world through you?

 

Dream

I dreamt last night that my agent (and very good friend) had died, but while she was dead, she was still conscious! She was walking around and we were chatting, but she knew she was dead, too. Over what seemed like a few days she was decaying and there was a smell, but we were still in this one room, chatting. I remember feeling slightly scared, and would hold my breath around her.

She knew she would have to be buried soon. And there was a sense of us getting ready for that. But the burial never happened. There was no goodbye or funeral - or perhaps I just woke up.

 

References

Rollo May. The Courage to Create (Amazon).

Linda Leonard. The Call to Create (Amazon).

Marie Louise von Franz. Creation Myths (Amazon).

Allan B. Chinen. Various books on fairytales (Amazon). 

 

Jul 16, 2020
Episode 119 - The Religious Attitude: What Do You Worship?
53:33

The religious instinct is as basic as the need for food or shelter. Psyche seeks and selects a central, organizing life principle whether consciously or unconsciously chosen. Secular deities range from food, money, or even science, to the gods of addiction; false gods lie behind neuroses and pathology. Traditional religions and cosmologies offer connection to large, well-ordered frameworks of myth and meaning.

Realizing one’s place in the context of larger realities has the potential to connect us to mystery and numinous experience; then we belong to something greater. For Jung the decisive question was whether a person was related to the infinite: “It seems as if it were only through the experience of a symbolic reality that man, vainly seeking his own ‘existence’ and making a philosophy out of it, can find his way back to a world in which he is no longer a stranger.” 

 

Dream

It is dusk and quickly becoming night. I am hidden from view, lying on my belly in a tunnel of some sort. I am looking out onto a clearing surrounded by trees. I see a small, fluffy, grey kitten--innocent, sweet. I want to climb out to hold the kitten and take care of it. Suddenly, a large, dark-brownish black bear lumbers in, crashing through the foliage; it doesn’t see me. I watch it, and am struck by how coarse the hair of his fur is and that the claws are ivory white but thick, strong and sharp.

I stay hidden, watching. The bear moves away and as it does, turns into a wrinkled light grey elephant; it is small, but from my point of view it looks quietly significant as it treads by. I am still hidden from view and feel awestruck and numb watching all this. I look down; I appear to be lying on over-sized slate- green stepping stones--oblong, almost triangular. Then to my horror, the stones begin to slowly shift up and along the ground, undulating!

I feel a mix of awe and fear when I realize that the stones are actually the scales of an enormous serpent/snake--and my reclining body is being carried along with it. I wake with the feeling that this dream is important to remember.

 

References

Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (Amazon).

Jul 09, 2020
Episode 118 - Dissociation: Encountering Our Inner Exile
52:36

Jung discovered the psyche’s dissociative nature through his Word Association Test. Subjects would delay or make nonsensical responses to ordinary words associated with troublesome personal memories or traumas.

Dissociation, our autonomous psychic “circuit breaker,” exists on a spectrum from ”spacing out” to disorders that interfere with life functioning. Psychotherapy could be considered the practice of healing dissociations, as treatment entails bringing banished contents into consciousness with feeling and understanding.

Fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty frequently depict dissociation as enchantment, abduction, or dismemberment. Reconnection with consciousness is the happily-ever-after resolution, for dissociation takes psychic energy that should be available for life. Giving our inner exiles a seat at the table of consciousness is crucial to wholeness. 

 

Dream 

I find myself at the bottom of an archaic like pit or well about 5 meters deep. There is very nice warm light coming into the pit, sandy golden and amber colors.  recognize it as a snake pit but the space doesn't feel threatening. A large four-legged snake appears; at this moment I do feel fear but am also intrigued by this creature. I start climbing up a ladder to escape from the pit and the creature stands on its back legs to tug me down with its teeth. The creature is not violent but insistent. I make my way out of the pit that is bathed in warm light.

 

References: 

John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You (Amazon) 

Bennett Braun, BASK model: scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/

Jul 02, 2020
Episode 117 - The Transcendent Function: Getting Unstuck
01:03:38

The transcendent function comes in all sizes, from “aha” moments to epiphanies. A new orientation to a dilemma arrives unthought, recognized, and right. Perhaps there is a moment where loneliness gives way to solitude, or heartbreak yields to a larger sense of self. Apprehension of a new attitude--sunlight breaking through clouds--has overcome the impasse, bringing freshness, spaciousness and possibility.

Engaging the tension of an emotional struggle without giving in to premature, one-sided action can prepare the way for the unconscious to unite with consciousness. The transcendent function can also be sought through practicing active imagination or involvement in expressive arts, a practice Jung encouraged. He said that the transcendent function “is a way of attaining liberation by one’s own efforts and of finding the courage to be oneself.” 

 

Dream

I'm on black rocks, like volcanic lava black, and walking from the sea behind me towards the land. I'm with my husband. There's a gap in the rocks--he goes to the left and I walk to the right. There is a channel of water between us. The channel gradually widens and I realize it will be difficult for us to cross it but we keep walking and then the rocks start to climb uphill but in such a way that we will not be able to cross over to each other. I say to my husband that we should cross now. I suggest that it will be easier for me to cross and I have found what looks like the narrowest part of the channel but then look to my right, and he has taken a giant step over at a wider spot and has reached my side but can't hold on--his feet have reached the rocks and his hands are trying to hold on so he can climb up, but the rocks he catches in his hands are loose and start to come undone so he is going to fall backwards. But he somehow manages to hold on. But I am looking at him and then I see myself in the water beside him--I see my body fully clothed wearing black warm wintery clothes and I'm slowly sinking from the surface. My husband says to me (the me that is on the rocks standing looking at my husband and myself sinking), “I'll just get you first” and he dives under the water and grabs me and tries to pass me up to myself. I realize I'm quite heavy and it's awkward to heave my body up. Then I am no longer separated in two anymore and we go into a house and he goes for a shower and I realize I am wet and that I need to go for a shower. 

Jun 25, 2020
Episode 116 - Finding Resilience: A Conversation with Jim Hollis
56:22

James Hollis, noted Jungian scholar, teacher and author, joined us to discuss resilience. His new book, Living Between Worlds: Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times, will be available on Amazon in mid-June.

 

When life rhythms and habits are suspended or upended, we may find ourselves adrift. What supports us then? For most of history institutional religion, tradition, and tribal mythology unified communities and connected members to the transcendent. Today, however, discovering the capacity for creativity, wisdom and connection to a larger reality has become increasingly an individual endeavor. Hardship and its associates, anxiety, depression and desperation, can be the catalyst for turning from external authorities to the internal world. Our instincts, feelings and nightly dreams are accessible, autonomous and informative. They tell us what we don’t know about our values, issues, and actions—and they insist on re-accessing personal myth and meaning, for that is what moves us to an authentic journey. Real life wants to live in us and through us. 

Jun 18, 2020
Episode 115 - We Can’t Breathe: Facing the Pain of Racism
01:11:48

Racial injustice takes one’s breath away. It reaches back to the psychic asphyxiations of the Middle Passage, slavery, and Jim Crow—cut-offs from home, family, freedom and justice. Racism persists in systemic inequities and ongoing instances of police violence.

The death of George Floyd, handcuffed, pleading, and unable to breathe, has inspired a collective rising in protest against current brutality and historic inhumanity. Breath as essence, consciousness and soul gives voice to lamentation and outrage. We cry out for the clean air of fairness, because racism is utterly breathtaking. Dr. Fanny Brewster joins us for today’s important discussion. 

 

References

Books by Fanny Brewster, PhD are available on Amazon.

     The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race

     Archetypal Grief

     African Americans and Jungian Psychology: Leaving the Shadows

Jun 11, 2020
Bonus Episode - On Becoming a Jungian Analyst
45:05

Many listeners have expressed interest in Jungian analytic training. We welcome those inquiries and outline the prerequisites, practicalities and processes which lead up to and constitute Jungian analytic training--a life path of ongoing growth, challenge and satisfaction.

We encourage all who are interested in becoming a Jungian analyst to consult the major Jungian organizational and training resources below, and to research additional educational and Jungian institutes around the world. There are many routes to training as a Jungian analyst and we hope to help you find yours.

References

www.IAAP.org

www.irsja.org

www.cgjungphiladelphia.org

Jun 08, 2020
Episode 114 - Riots: When the Collective Catches Fire
01:02:14

How can we understand the psychological wild fire of rioting? Jung, who lived through two world wars, understood that mass movements had the power to manifest archetypal energy. The urge to unleash destructive chaos is depicted in mythologies around the world.

Early Norse warriors attained battle-crazed states as "berserkers," and Cu Chulainn, a mythological Irish warrior, killed both friends and foe. Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and strife, started the Trojan War, and Kali, a Hindu god whose name derives from suffer, hurt, startle and confuse, also incited war. Riots--contagious states of regressive possession--belong to this archetypal realm. Jung said “collective man threatens to stifle the individual man, on whose sense of responsibility everything valuable in mankind ultimately depends…the true leaders of mankind are always those who are capable of self-reflection.”

 

Dream

I was in a forest next to a fortress wall. A little boy appeared with a cotton hood over his head that covered his face. The child was riding a white pony. I could see his blue eyes through slits in the hood. They looked sideways. I don't know if the child saw me, but he felt I was there because he clung to me. I hugged him and the pony with great love and tenderness. The child needed my love and protection. At that moment, a man in green clothes and armor approached me. Without being aggressive, he told me that I had to leave the child who was the king's son and had his own guard. The man kindly invited me to go with him. I was divided in my feelings. I felt great love for the child, but I also felt guilt that I was breaking some high rules I didn't understand.

I followed the man, who was now dressed in a long red robe and looked like a royal nobleman. I was walking about 10 meters after him. We went around the fortress and took the streets of the city. We walked for a long time. He entered a building, I followed him at a distance. When I entered the building, I heard his voice from below, he was walking down the stone stairs. He told me to pass him a big black hook on a chain. I obeyed unquestioningly and handed him the hook. At that moment, for the first time, I doubted the man and his intentions. Horrified, I realized that, guided by my guilt, I was following a torturer who made his prey prepare their own torments.

I realized that I had to do something right away and I regretted that I had not felt the threat before, when I could easily escape, because moving away after him, we were often in different places - for example, he had already entered the entrance, and I was still walking down the street. All I had to do was rush back up the stairs before entering his dungeon. I woke up in horror.

 

References:

Donald Kalsched. The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit. (Amazon)

Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Women Who Run with the Wolves (Amazon).

 

Jun 04, 2020
Episode 113 - Lockdown: Decoding the Covid Complex
01:02:07

Oppressed, repressed and regressed, the forced restrictions of the Covid Complex have us in its grip. We may see friends and family more often than ever, but only on a screen.

Work, school, home, weekdays, weekends—time and tasks slide around like Jello on a hot plate. Loss of structure, variety, movement and touch are destabilizing. Confined to tight physical and emotional spaces, we may collapse into ourselves or lash out at loved ones. We hear contradictory messages on the news and go outside only if masked and defended.

The Covid Complex is both personal and collective—it affects each of us differently and it affects us all. Most of us have been forced inward physically and psychologically; perhaps this time is also an opportunity to rediscover inner resources and experience depth of being.

 

Dream

I am viewing media footage filmed from a helicopter looking down onto the forward section of a fast moving 60 foot solo sailed yacht that is heading out to sea. The yacht is hard to the wind, heeled over, plunging through a 1.5 meter sea, with ocean spray sweeping over the bow.

The sky is overcast, the sea grey, the wind is blowing over 25 knots and the land is out of sight and astern. A man (solo sailor) of approximately 70 years, dressed in yellow wet weather gear, is steadily making his way aft from the bow of the yacht toward the stern. He is moving in a crouch using a hand for support in an experienced and careful manner.

As he moves he is also tending to the headsail that is temporarily impaired by the life lines; he is caring in his attention to the sail. A news commentator is wishing the sailor well as he embarks on a long offshore passage. I am yearning that this will one day be me embarking on such a passage and I am empathizing with the harmony that the sailor is demonstrating toward the yacht by smoothing the sail and his experienced movements in challenging conditions.

Suddenly the sailor looks up toward the stern and breaks into a run, toward the stern. However, his foot catches on a fixed piece of rigging and he trips, falling forward, hitting his head hard on the deck. The news commentator is saying that this is the last time the sailor was seen or heard from and is now missing at sea. I am thinking how could it be the last time he was seen as there were people recording the footage and flying the helicopter.

I can’t understand how he could be missing. I wake up feeling shaken and bewildered.

May 28, 2020
Episode 112 - Midlife Crisis: Renewal or Stagnation
01:04:08

Jung was particularly interested in the second half of life, perhaps because after his own midlife crisis he found himself so surprisingly generative. We tend to spend the first half of life oriented to familial values and cultural norms for success. 

 

Education, work, partnering and child rearing are some of the mile markers for speed and distance on the road of life—until midlife strikes. We may then discover that worldly successes feel flat, or blame discontent on bad breaks. 

 

Although dramatic lifestyle changes at midlife are the stuff of story, malaise at the midpoint is psyche’s signal to attend to unlived inner life. It is time for meaningful encounter between ego and unconscious, worldly rewards and true fulfillment, obligation and freedom. Midlife crisis is a call to deepened feeling and the unique meaning of your life.  

 

 

Dream

 

I am walking with a group of my "clients" (developmentally disabled people). I have to work to keep the group together as some straggle here and there. I'm responsible for their well being so onward we go. I look on the ground/sidewalk and see a small round brown object which looks like a tree nut. I pick it up and upon closer inspection realize that it is of animal nature rather than plant - and alive. As I hold it in the palm of my hand, it morphs into a tiny creature, tinier than my pinky finger. I can't just leave it there so I slip it into my pocket and keep walking, trying to keep my rag-tag group together. 

 

After a while I look into my pocket to check on it and it has grown some and looks a bit like a fetal kitten. It looks unwell and I think it might not live. We continue to walk. The third time I look into my pocket, the creature has turned into a baby bird with black, red, and white feathers. The bird is in tremendous suffering with its stomach cut open and a look of horror, pain and grief on it's face. I feel these emotions too and think, "Oh no! It's going to die.” I keep it in my pocket and try to soothe it, but still we keep on walking. 

 

Toward the end of our escapade, I look into my pocket a fourth time. This time the bird is fully grown and leaps out, startling me. Now the bird is pure white, luminous with three round feathers on slim stalks atop its head. Among its body feathers are multicolored zinnia flowers sprouting along with the feathers. It hops into a landscape planter along the sidewalk and establishes itself amid the vegetation. 

 

I back away in shock, completely amazed. I pull out my cell phone to try to take a picture of it but can't because a survey keeps popping up on the screen of my phone, preventing me from using the camera. I curse and search my bag for another phone and finally do manage to snap a pic, but I still don't know what to make of it. 

May 21, 2020
Episode 111 - Jung, UFOs & Aliens: The Truth is Out There
01:08:31

The Pentagon recently released a film of a UFO made by Navy pilots. Although such credible documentation is new, UFO sightings go back to ancient times and surged after World War II. 

 

Interstellar travel then seized the collective imagination, and the ongoing abundance of books, television shows and films signals the emergence of a new mythology. In his treatise “Flying Saucers,” Jung took a phenomenological stance, acknowledging experiences of sightings without concretizing them as physical or dismissing them as fictional. 

 

Alchemists projected psyche onto matter at a time when its transformational properties inspired reverence and awe. Today, no matter what other truths are out there, UFOs reach “beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets…”

 

 

Dream

I’m in a Catholic Church that is crumbling down with my mother and a priest. At the bottom of the building there are some wooden boxes and there is a big, brown female marsupial there. I am told by the priest to kill her, but I don’t want to, so instead I hit her repeatedly on the head with a book. 

 

At some point she reacts and moves. She does not attack me but opens her mouth like a vagina, and before leaving she tells me: At least you won’t have kids that make you older and make you fat. She departs and I feel somehow relieved to have some definition about the topic of having children or not.

 

 

References

Jung, C.G. Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies(Amazon).

Harper, Patrick. Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (Amazon).

May 14, 2020
Episode 110 - ZOOMing In: Is Psyche Alive Online?
01:04:57

We have moved our lives online. But can we experience authentic human connection through virtual technology? Can we date, mourn, or have psychoanalysis on a screen? If screens offer some surprising intimacies—close-ups of wedding vows and eulogies—they also deprive us of embodied participation. Staying at home has made us newly eager to socialize—separately. Dating means conversation, not cuddling.

We enter the homes of colleagues, clients, and even newscasters, but despite this implicit amity we’re not guests. Psychoanalysts refer to “the analytic third,” physicists propound unified field theory, and Jung had these words carved over his door: Called or not called, God will be there. 

There is an autonomous spirit and independent intelligence that lives in and between us and even onscreen. It can hold us in the mystery of meaningful connection that is not contingent on physical presence.

 

Dream

I was a magician’s apprentice. The magician was old and dying, and was in a hurry to pass on his legacy to me. He showed me a wooden box with jewelry. The box was placed on the lid of a deep well to the underworld. He opened the box and gave me two black diamonds, and told me he had locked a dangerous demon inside the well by casting a spell with the diamonds.

If the diamonds were ever to fall inside the well the demon would get back its power and escape the well. It was my job now to make sure no one threw the diamonds into the well. The magician then turned into an old man (who I think was my grandfather). He was suffering from dementia and kept trying to put one of the diamonds in the well, which he succeeded with when I turned my back on him for a moment. The demons came out--one was a big blue lobster.

They were free but had lost their evil powers, since I still had one of the diamonds in my hand. The lobster-demon demanded I use my power to lift the spell from the diamond, which I did. But nothing happened. The demons were still powerless. I realized that the demons had been in the well for so long that they had forgot how to be evil, and now they were loving creatures that just wanted to be free.

May 07, 2020
Episode 109 - Jung & Astrology: Cosmos & Character
01:31:55

Astrology is a 4000-year-old discipline rooted in the mystery of man’s relationship to the universe. It is an archetypal frame for human experience that influenced Jung, depicts our connection to the heavens, and anticipates future trends.

We are now beginning an approximately 38-year Pluto-Saturn cycle—and Covid-19 has appeared at its outset. Pluto is associated with the underworld; Saturn is a stern taskmaster and enforcer of boundaries. The virus is forcing us to face fear and death—and also consider what egoistic attitudes may need to die. We can relate to these dark times with despair or as opportunity to create a healthier relationship with self, community and earth.

The Age of Aquarius inspires the possibility of greater consciousness, for which Jung strove in his life and work. We can attend to planetary influences that point the way ahead.

Dream

I am on or in the ocean. Not sure how I got there or where I am going -- also strangely not in something. From my left a huge ship appears. In the "window" of the ship there is an elephant and a giraffe next to each other. They "smile" at me as they pass me as if to say goodbye and there the ship disappears on the horizon. Then I wake up. I am now left with the image of Noah's Ark but can't make sense of the symbolism.

References

Christina Becker’s website: www.cjbecker.com.

Classes with Christina Becker: Jungianmasterclasses.thinkific.com.

Cosmos & Psyche: Intimation of a New World View by Richard Tarnas.

Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic & the Qualities of Time by Liz Greene.

Apr 30, 2020
Episode 108 - Authority: Who’s in Charge Around Here?
01:07:18

The dictionary defines authority as the power to “influence or command thought, opinion or behavior.” Authority’s Latin roots are master, leader, author—thus it lives next to its tough cousin, power. Families, organizations, and governing bodies influence and command us, whether slightly or mightily. Authority has legitimacy, from a traffic officer’s directives to a mentor’s wisdom.

An authority may reward desired behavior or provide expert advice. We can rebel against authority, be coerced into compliance, or fall into identification with a leader. Ultimately, we must claim our own authority in determining values and making decisions. Jung says, “Life calls us forth to independence, and anyone who does not heed this call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis. And once this has broken out, it becomes an increasingly valid reason for running away from life and remaining forever in the morally poisonous atmosphere of infancy.”

Dream

There is a viral outbreak. I'm in a car pulling out into the street. I see a lot of police cars parked to monitor traffic. I'm pulled over by the police and taken to a medical facility for testing. The police officer gets tested first by a shot in the arm and then I'm taken downstairs for a "cheaper, less reliable test for the virus." This seems stupid and vindictive.

My perspective shifts to a news flash vignette showing how amidst the pandemic, young men have regressed into grotesque testicular forms who engage in tribal rituals of dysfunctional, impractical sex, chanting "me to me" or "us to us" like in the sex scene in the film Requiem for a Dream. Very dark and disturbing. The global birth rate is plummeting. From elsewhere on the planet a "pure as the driven snow" baby girl is born and mankind is redeemed.

References:

Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind (Amazon).

Apr 23, 2020
Episode 107 - Nigredo: Finding Light in Our Darkness
01:05:16

The alchemical term nigredo means black or blackening, and is associated with decomposition and putrefaction. As a psychological state, nigredo is “the great suffering and grief” which the detached forces of nature inflict on the soul.

We realize in sorrow that what we thought were truths were illusory. Individuals may have taken pride in their virtues, talents or good fortune; societies may have touted their cultural superiority, military prowess, or wealth. When we are stripped of easy beliefs, we have no defense against the desolation of nigredo.

But as surely as a seed releases its urge to life underground, blackness is also a place of incubation. Jung states, “Everything psychic is pregnant with the future.” Our task is “to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there find germs of light and recovery” from which new life will come.

 

Dream

I was arriving to a commotion in a beautiful open-space garden beside the university building where I graduated. As I was approaching the crowd, I wondered who it was that everyone were so excited about. I was carrying a sort of notebook and was wearing a sort of girly school outfit that indicated that I was a student again.

I was surprised to see a slender gay man who was topless and with a floral headpiece dancing in a circular motion or like he was just so free and flowing and everyone was hoping he would notice them. He was dancing backed up by 3-4 women with floral crowns and white flow-y gowns. He was just so fluid and beautiful. Then he looked at me. And I knew he liked me. When his dance was finished and everybody had left, he came to me and said hi. And then, we kissed. It was a deep and profound kiss; I have never been kissed that way.

With our tongues doing the talking, we communicated to each other. He told me, 'Why are you so sad?' I said I was afraid. Then I woke seeing my sleeping baby beside me.

 

Reference

Edinger, Edward. Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy (Amazon).

Apr 16, 2020
Episode 106 - When Everything Changes: Is There Opportunity in Crisis?
01:06:07

In the Chinese language, the two characters representing crisis are danger and opportunity. Can that possibly be true of these days of pandemic crisis, with physical, economic, and psychological destabilization? Voices of experience and wisdom speak to us about finding potential in desperate situations.

Victor Frankl, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, discovered he had the power to choose his attitude toward brutal circumstances. Erich Fromm felt that isolation and fear could lead either to experiencing or forfeiting personal freedom.

Carl Jung valued the human capacity for consciousness: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” We can be heartened in hard times by those who have gone before, turned inward, and found treasure. 

Dream

I’m walking into my high school dressed in school uniform for the first time in years. I walk through the cafeteria and people are all looking at me and whispering. I sit at some seats by myself. I see some classmates I recognize and ask why they’re all still here when we left high school 5 years ago. They tell me it’s because of the coronavirus outbreak. I ask, “Why would it be the coronavirus outbreak when that has only just started?” They don’t give me a proper answer. I am not aware of why I am here either but I have just rejoined after some time away whereas the others have been here for a long time.

References (Books available on Amazon):

Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Apr 09, 2020
Episode 105 - Ancestors: Our Psychological Inheritance
01:03:45

The archetype of origins is in resurgence since the advent of ancestry-mapping programs. What are the psychological and symbolic meanings of ancestry? Identity is often strongly linked to ancestry in its ethnic and cultural aspects, and as the carrier of personal traits.

Genealogy gives rise to meaning-making narratives such as: I get my talent for storytelling from my Irish forebears. Jung knew that family complexes are handed down when he said, “Psychologically, the central point of a human personality is the place where the ancestors are reincarnated.” Genograms, another mapping technique, allow us to trace those intellectual and emotional family patterns.

Every individual rests on a historical foundation of family, tribe, clan, and nation—and, at levels below consciousness, we are also affected by our common roots in the primeval past and the mysterious central fire of life. In order to differentiate from this multi-layered context, it can help to know it.

 

Dream

I was in a quaint English village. Next to the village ran a river, and on the other side of this river were fields. A traditional Cotswold stone bridge joined both sides of this river. Suddenly, I seemed to be competing in some sort of local race. I was competing in this race against 2 friends/girls (unknown to me). I remember pushing myself past one of the girls to place first in this race.

I remember feeling a little self-conscious of the fact that I had not let this friend of mine win, and hoped that she didn't think I was being a "dick". The race centered and finished around the bridge joining both sides of the river. As I stood on this bridge and looked down at the river, I noticed a dog (possibly a Springer Spaniel) was drowning. I felt a strong urge to save this dog, and felt sad that it was in such distress.

As I looked on in horror I noticed some netting was beginning to cover the surface of the river (a bit like when you cover a pond or swimming pool). I knew at that point the dog was going to die, as it could no longer come up for air. I could hear sirens in the distance, which seemed to indicate both the possibility of help and danger in the form of police sirens (something/someone coming to reprimand me). It was forbidden to jump in the river but I did it anyway. I pulled the dog out of the river, at which point I noticed it had morphed into a Seal.

I began to care for this Seal, and in doing so, it again morphed in to a small, podgy young boy. I held the young boy in my arms, and I told myself, "I'd do it all again despite the potential danger". I was relieved I had saved the dog - seal - young boy. There was a sense of heroic accomplishment.

References:

Monica McGoldrick: source of multiple books on genograms (Amazon).

Apr 02, 2020
Episode 104 - Therapist Disclosures: Withholding or Overloading?
01:10:39

Should an analyst share personal information with clients? Freud believed that the analyst should be devoid of personal presence, so he sat unseen behind his famous couch. Jung realized that regardless of theory, psychotherapy entailed two people in a room interacting. 

 

He likened two personalities to chemical substances: as they combined both would be altered. Jung and his patients interacted face to face, for Jung welcomed the complexities of human relationship. Relational dynamics are the bedrock of the therapeutic process; we invite them into the consulting room. 

 

Vulnerabilities, friendliness, power dynamics, humor, and shadow’s many manifestations appear in body language, facial expression, and feeling tone as well as language. Humans are wired to read one another, so disclosure is inevitable. The crucial concern for the therapist is that disclosures serve authentic relationship, including the deconstruction of isolation and shame when we as therapists are seen in our humanity. 

 

Dream

It’s the middle of the night and pitch black outside. I am in a car with my therapist; she is driving slowly and talking to me. I listen and reply in a quiet voice with a rather trivial statement; I also use pretentious wording like ‘sine qua non’, which is not like me. She nods in agreement. I move closer but she raises her eyebrows and I pull back to my seat, concerned that I might have seemed inappropriate. 

 

We start hearing a man in the distance, singing a beautiful operatic aria. His voice is mesmerising and sad. All of a sudden, I and my therapist are in the back seats and I cannot see who is driving the car. The voice is getting louder and I get more scared by the minute. The man is now forcing the front door opposite the driving seat, and has attached to the car. I am aware he is breaking in and I am terrorised. 

 

I wake up with my heart beating and check on my husband who is sleeping, then go listen at my son’s door. By this point, my consciousness has fully returned and I know it was just a dream. I have a certain name in mind, a man I knew briefly but who was important in my life, but I am wise enough to realise the man could also be a part of myself.

Mar 26, 2020
Episode 103 - Facing the Fear of Coronavirus: Finding a Grounding Attitude
01:01:52

The word plague derives from the Latin plangere, “to strike the breast as if in lamentation.” The novel coronavirus has visited loss, fear and hardship on many. Nature in her destructive mode can radically disrupt cultural creations and norms and show us how fragile they – and we -- are.

We may also find new sources of sustenance within. Dreams, bodywork, and the imaginal realm can help us access a new attitude: a reorientation of purpose, meaning, and consciousness. 

“The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives, we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch.”

C.G. Jung, CW 18, Para. 1400.

Dream

The landscape is a lush, deep forest. In the foreground is what appears to be a bush, a brightly colored bush that looks like something out of science fiction as it is unique to the shrubbery around it. In fact, the neon-colored blossoms on the shrub are the club-shaped viral spike peplomers of a virus and I immediately know this 'bush' to be an image of a coronavirus. A female deer is peacefully munching on these 'blossoms' one by one. I take the image of the deer eating the blossoms of the virus bush to represent how the wonders of the natural world can be an antidote to the pandemics of our time.

Mar 19, 2020
Episode 102 - Destiny: Are We Fated to Have One?
01:05:13

Questions about fate and destiny have existed for millennia. Fate often refers to unalterable realities, from genes to future events, whereas destiny points to future potential.

An acorn’s likely fate is to die on the forest floor, but its destiny is to become an oak tree. Jung understood that “…when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as Fate.” Differentiating from family and collective values, and from the inner world of the unconscious, is what can enable us to change what appears to be external and autonomous: “fate.”

The process of making inner situations conscious, the task of individuation, is the central aim of Jung’s psychology. This is also imaged as the hero’s journey of finding and fulfilling one’s destiny -- discovering one’s true purpose.

Jung said, “At bottom, therefore, there is only striving, namely, the striving after your own being.”

 

Dream

I am at a lake with a female companion. It is somewhere in the midwest, maybe Missouri. We go to the public shelter that is at the lake, and notice that the bathroom doors have been bent and hang on their hinges. It is as if something has been ramming them from the inside. My companion gasps as she discovers there is a body behind one of the doors. There is a storm building outside, and it starts to get dark. I find myself next walking in Riverdale, NY and it is nighttime. The streets are pretty hilly and there are tall projects around me. The wind is picking up, and rain, like there may be a hurricane. I spot a werewolf crawling headfirst down one of the projects. It leaps in front of me and snarls. I realize suddenly that I know magick, and begin to shoot lightning from my fingertips at the werewolf.

 

References

Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Amazon)

Hillman, James. The Soul’s Code (Amazon)

Bollas, Christopher. The Unthought Known (Amazon)

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Amazon)

Mar 12, 2020
Episode 101 - Pessimism: Was Eeyore Right?
57:45

“Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” For Eeyore, only perverse possibilities lie ahead, even if they are unknowable. Do gloomy expectations create self-fulfilling prophecies? Or are pessimists more realistic than naive optimists like Winnie the Pooh? Pessimism can be associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. It may also motivate preparation and striving, especially if the pessimist believes he or she can overcome significant obstacles and succeed. 

 

There is a difference between ability to anticipate pitfalls and a depressed or hopeless emotional state. Pessimism may have roots in early relational disappointments, leading the person to believe it is better not to expect anything good than to hope for reward and be disappointed. 

 

The Greek myth of Icarus is often seen as a cautionary tale against recklessly flying too high and falling – but Icarus was also warned against fearfully flying too low and immobilization. Holding the tension of the opposites—pessimism and optimism--is what makes movement of libido possible.

 

 

Dream

I was flying through a futuristic city. On the ground below me, I saw a small model or replica of a stadium and circled above it several times. It felt familiar to me, and I thought that I had seen it in other lucid dreams of mine. It felt like an important sign since it was showing up again, so I wanted to investigate it more in this dream. In my mind, I thought to myself, “May I understand the wisdom of this art piece.” 

 

When I flew down to the ground to get a closer look, I saw what looked like a children’s book lying there. I picked it up and tried to read the cover and flip through to see what was on the pages. The text was blurred, as though I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I squinted and moved the book further away and closer to me, trying to get the words in focus, but the text remained blurry. I felt thwarted and began crying with frustration. I cried, “God, why do you put this here for me if I can’t read what it says?” 

 

At last, I was able to see the title somewhat more clearly and repeated it to myself again and again in the dream in order to remember it when I woke up. The title of the book was “The Fullness of Round Objects”.

Mar 05, 2020
Episode 100 - Outrageous! What Drives Shocking Behaviors?
01:03:05

We can all cite examples of behaviors that defy reason and meaning. How can we understand X shouting those things at a party, or the bizarre thing Y filmed himself doing on YouTube? There is a great array of psychological labels for such behaviors, as if pronouncing them “histrionic,” “manic” or even “drunk” explains radical actions and cascades of feelings.

The roots of such exaggerated expressions may lie in early relational traumas and attempts to compensate for authentic lacks by appearing uncaring and daring, or dramatic and demanding.

Overall, an inability to hold the tension between feeling and action has occurred, hinting at an adaptive failure. Extreme behaviors are often the externally expressed compensation for their internal opposites, so outrageous behavior may be a plea for empathic attention and authentic connection.

 

Dream

I am observing two creatures walk up a steep flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs lies another creature, this one is beautiful and majestic. It is dying. I see its spine protruding, the bones have made it to the surface. I am disturbed. I watch as one of the creatures opens the dying creatures’ stomach - which has been sliced open. The creature slides inside. I have the felt sense that it is sucking up what little life force remains of the dying creature. I feel simultaneously disturbed, angry and paralyzed by terror. I wake up at this time.

 

References

Salman, Sherry. Dreams of Totality: Where We Are When There’s Nothing at the Center (Amazon, paperback)

McWilliams, Nancy. Psychoanalytic Diagnosis (Amazon)

Sunset Boulevard (film)

Feb 27, 2020
Episode 099 - Projection: When the Dart Lands
55:08

The power of projections to hit psychic targets serves both defensive and integrative functions. Projections are a natural aspect of psychic functioning, as we know from watching children at play: we first see inner images “out there” in order to experience them internally.

Projections give shape to affects and archetypal images, from the hero to the healer, the derelict to the destroyer. We also tend to project our shadows outward, attributing disliked or undeveloped aspects of ourselves to others. In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy and her companions project the power to change their lives onto the wizard.

When they discover he is only “the man behind the curtain” they recognize their projections as illusions and are able to see the wizard more objectively. Withdrawing projections allows us to become more empowered and whole.

 

Dream

There is a group of young women/girls - I am either one of them or I am all of them (that’s the sense I get). There is the knowledge that one of us has to make a sacrifice for the group. The youngest is chosen – a beautiful girl (maybe age 10-12) with long dark hair in shiny curls. She is kind and willing to sacrifice.

She is led to an old stone building by two of the other girls (twins with bobbed dark hair and a harsher personality). Instructions for the sacrifice are in the building. The next day the girls/women return to find the sacrifice was completed.

The youngest has had to sacrifice herself to make a bowl of soup for the others. The red tomato and herb soup was made with her outer layers - skin and flesh. The sacrifice was made willingly and for the benefit of the group.

Feb 20, 2020
Episode 098 - Climate Change: How Can We Welcome Upsetting Truths?
01:17:42

Recent severe environmental events have made facing climate change urgent. We talk with Jeffrey Kiehl, PhD, climate scientist, Jungian analyst, and author, about bringing a psychological perspective to our present situation and the process of change. (Kiehl’s book is listed below.)

The modern myth of infinite growth and limitless natural resources has led to equating consumerism with personal fulfillment. This belief underlies environmental imbalance; a new attitude is needed to restore right relationship with the earth. Kiehl draws on a tale Jung loved: a Chinese village struck by drought sent for the rainmaker, but right after he arrived he retreated to a secluded hut outside the village.

Three days later, it rained. The rainmaker explained that the villagers had been so out of balance that he became infected. He then had to withdraw in order to return to Tao—and then, quite naturally, it rained. The rainmaker—and Jung—knew that one’s inner life and wholeness is the foundation for external change.

Kiehl underscores the importance of a lived relationship with Nature and the unconscious, sources of wholeness and harmony. If we engage in the rainmaker’s work we can infect—and affect—the external world.  

The Myth of Erysichthon

In lieu of an individual dream, a myth, a dream from the collective, is analyzed.

http://classictales.educ.cam.ac.uk/stories/metamorphoses/erysichthon/explore/Erysichthon_transcript.pdf

Have you had a dream that you feel relates to our global climate emergency? This Jungian Life is collecting such dreams. You can share yours with us here.

References:

Kiehl, Jeffrey. Facing Climate Change: An Integrated Path to the Future (Amazon).

Ovid. The Metamorphoses (Amazon).

McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary (Amazon).

Feb 13, 2020
Episode 097 - A Psychology of Redemption
01:13:31

As we grow, unconscious unity becomes differentiated into feeling, ego, personality and desire. As we grow, we will have initiatory encounters with shadow, demanding the sacrifice of innocence and identification with ego.

The story of Adam and Eve conceives this archetypal experience as the fall. The stories of Job, Faust and even the children’s tale, The Velveteen Rabbit, tell us how we may achieve redemption from a fall. The fairytale of The Black Princess depicts this vividly as the struggle to engage shadow and the need to surrender to something greater, which Jung called the Self.

We experience redemption as grace: the gift of a relationship with the Self. For Jung redemption was part of the work of individuation, a process of reclaiming lost or forgotten parts of ourselves in order to become consciously whole and in relation to a guiding Self.

Here's the dream we analyze:

"In my dream, my mom and I are in the backyard that is adjacent to a street. We see Jimmy Fallon walking over to us with a baby's car seat held over his head. Jimmy greets us and my mom asks if she could see the baby. So, Jimmy lowers the car seat, sets it on the ground and reveals that the car seat is filled with this orange liquid that completely submerges the baby. My mom was very excited to see the baby and Jimmy smiles at her excitement. I then panic and ask them if they can't see the baby is drowning. Although I brought it to their attention they didn't seem very worried but I wound up tipping the car seat over to discard the liquid."

Feb 06, 2020
Episode 096 - Polyamory: Navigating the Complexities of the Heart
01:19:38

Polyamory, a current phenomenon, endorses open relationships with multiple lovers. The term means many loves, and polyamory strives to legitimize the benefits of non-monogamous romance and sexuality among adults.

Jung engaged in an open, extramarital relationship with Toni Wolff. Does polyamory represent an overthrow of outdated cultural mores in an age when sex can be safe? Or is committed, often sanctified bonding a deeply rooted part of human nature and development? There are parallels in the development of a relationship between two people and the relationship of ego to the unconscious.

Jung discovered that the alchemical images in The Rosarium Philosophorum, depicting stages of relationship for a couple, illustrated the individuation process. Is polyamory a way of rationalizing ego gratification and avoiding monogamous commitment? Or is polyamory a call to forgo outmoded cultural restrictions and experience connections with others that can facilitate inner growth?

Dream

"I am walking alongside the man that I am currently dating. He is on my right side. Suddenly on my left side, the man I am still in love with appears with the woman he has a child with (in waking life, he has a child with a woman he did not marry and co-parents. I am still not over him and wish we were together). In the dream, he has had another child with her. I’m surprised he’s had another child with her. It makes me think he has had even more intimacy and “work to do” with her in his life path. I am stuck in the middle... the man I am dating is on my right side, but I am not really interested in him (even though he treats me wonderfully in real life, he doesn’t feel like “the one”). The man I desire is on my left, with a woman and two kids, a life and world he’s been focusing on. He sees me, and I feel this strong and pleasant attraction and connection between us - like a youthful friendship mixed with love - I realize/know that he continues to be interested in me too, even though we are apart. I wake up, confused but happy to have a positive dream about his feelings towards me (In waking life, I continue to regret our breakup and he has ignored attempts I have made to rekindle a friendship and begin communication again)."

Jan 30, 2020
Episode 095- TRIGGERED: Understanding & Transforming Complexes
01:07:09

When we speak of being triggered, what exactly is it that sends us into a familiar  arc of feeling and behavior we may later regret? That mysterious force seems external and can elude our ability to locate it within. Jung called these autonomous and unconscious incursions complexes, and he discovered them through his Word Association Test.

A subject’s delayed or inappropriate reaction to a stimulus word such as tree or house indicated an unconscious disturbance that could then yield to understanding. Complexes are a fundamental part of our inner landscape: our experiences cluster around innate human patterns, emotions, bodily sensations, and personal memories.

We are complexed when we are automatically, emotionally and physiologically aroused, often in ways that are out of proportion to the situation. We begin to transform a complex by noticing, naming, and claiming it as our own. Then we can catch it before we react—and instead, respond. Complexes are constellated, clustered together like stars—and they can shine their light on our unconscious patterns. 

 Dream

"I am going to become the next queen of England. But first, I had to clean a lot of food and trash from an audience seating area (like stands at a sports arena). I asked the Queen if I was making a mistake by becoming the next queen. She said yes, and that I will have no time to give to my own children (once I have them). A young male adviser to the Queen was assisting her and helping to set everything up for the transition. On a break from cleaning, I went down to a craft fair and visited some old ladies and talked to them about the beautiful art they made. My grandmother was there, trying to print a photograph I took of a Legislature building. I returned to my task and at 6:00 PM, I made my way to sit on the right arm of the Queen's chair, ready for the ceremony." 

Jan 23, 2020
Episode 094 - Finding Resilience as We Face New Disasters
01:04:35

Although there have been a number of recent destructive environmental events, the duration and devastation of the fires in Australia have made a powerful impact on the collective psyche. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, although disastrous to humans, seem acausal aspects of Nature. Other environmental damage, such as Amazon fires, is caused by human behavior. Australia’s plight, however, calls into blazing question mankind’s relationship with the Great Mother herself. Like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or The Flood, we may wonder about archetypal retribution for man’s environmental sins. Just as ego may be called through crisis into right relationship with soul, perhaps the heartbreak of this current psychic scorching will open new consciousness and caring. 

Dream

"It's a sunny afternoon and I'm walking, in a loose crowd, with my entire extended family up a hill on a large field of green grass. Forest surrounds us at the far edges. We are on our way to a funeral, the atmosphere is serene. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I notice a lumberjack-like man walking past everyone through the crowd carrying a huge leather/mesh bag on his back. I can see the bag consists of three grown grizzly bears. Once the man arrives on top of the hill (quite far ahead of me and my nuclear family) he sets down the massive bag and zips it open. I'm thinking, "STOP"! The three bears scramble out the bag and wreak havoc on the crowd. It quickly goes dark and the dream turns into a hide-and-seek sort of horror show. I'm hiding with my father in a small, half built old wooden cottage by which a river flows and I see one of the bears swimming, searching."

Jan 16, 2020
Episode 093 - Dynamics of Change & Renewal
01:05:35

A new year often symbolizes a new beginning, with resolutions to make specific lifestyle changes related to self-improvement. Research indicates, however, that up to 88% of these resolutions fail. If changes—no matter how worthy--are imposed by ego alone, the unconscious is likely to have its say by rebelling.

Meaningful change requires the willingness to sit at the crossroads of inner conflict, steep in its mystery, and honor the opportunity for relationship rather than repression. Contemplation before action includes inner assessment of readiness, resources, and response-ability.

Sacrifice is required, external programs or people may provide support, and the goal must be aligned with purpose inspired by the Self. Jung stated that we don’t solve our problems, we grow bigger than our problems. Meaningful change and renewal occurs when we have engaged an inner conflict and thereby become more whole.   

 

Dream

"I'm in a fortress with a tall tower and I'm participating in some kind of sacrificial ritual. I know there are other participants but I don't see them. We have to answer a question correctly or face a painful death. I fail the test and am brought to the top of the tower for the sacrifice, which involves being cut into pieces. I run away and throw myself off the top of the tower to avoid that torture. I hit the ground and find myself back in the tower, having to throw myself over the edge again to escape the sacrifice. This happens multiple times."

Jan 09, 2020
Episode 092 - Trickster
51:52

The archetype of the trickster shows up in ambiguity, duplicity, contradiction and paradox. Usually depicted as masculine, trickster has been featured in tales worldwide through history. We see him as a boundary crosser, shape-shifting imitator, versatile adapter, and disrupter of norms whose deceptions often backfire on him.

Our inner trickster causes ego’s intentions to go haywire, and shows up as slips of the tongue, forgetting something important, or dream behavior that jolts the waking mind. Trickster’s disregard for rationality and rules disrupts stasis and rigidity, paradoxically helping to establish standards and create culture. Trickster lies at the heart of art and story, enlarging our world by imaging and voicing psychic truths.

Trickster confronts us with our limitations, and can be counted on to teach us flexibility and humility with irreverent humor.

Dream

"I’m walking along the edge of a wood along a path. I see a stag emerge from the wood and then the rest of his deer herd join him. I think ‘wow how magical’, but it quickly becomes evident that they are a threatening presence. The stag starts running towards me and the rest of the herd follows. I run as fast as I can, but as I start to feel the stags breathe on my back, I realize that I cannot out run him. I decide to grab him by the horns and throw him down. I kill him."

References

Hyde, Lewis. Trickster Makes This World, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Amazon). 

Jan 02, 2020
Episode 091 - Secrets
57:47

Although a secret is usually considered information deliberately kept from others, we also keep secrets from ourselves. Internal secrets consist of emotionally laden knowledge that consciousness represses; the price of such secrets may be a complex or neurosis.

Secrets can alienate us from ourselves as well as others, and are often fueled by shame, guilt and fear. Family secrets can be especially burdensome, even toxic. However, secrets can also serve positive purposes. Sharing a secret can strengthen friendship through a special bond of trust. Secrets help social life run smoothly; initiatory rites may be secret to enhance the significance of a life passage; secrets can help children and teens realize their unique and separate selves; and secrets can protect others from harm.

Secrets are also essential to psychoanalysis: secrets can be safely discovered and will be well contained in the temenos of the consulting room.

Dream
"A man is recovering from an illness, sitting down on a chair. He calls me for protection. As I go forward towards him, he looks to his right side to some human figures (females) hidden in the dark. He is afraid of them, he tells me. I come close and hug him and notice that he has a very thick and voluminous hair. His hair emanates energy. I wake up feeling this high energy around my arms."

References
Westover, Tara. Educated (Amazon).

Dec 26, 2019
Episode 090 - Scrooge on the Couch: How the Numinous Transforms
01:15:22

Something's going on in Scrooges soul...and it's tired of waiting for an invitation.

Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, vividly portrays the journey to healing and transcendence. It was written in a fever, released on December 19, 1843, and sold out before Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge’s visitations by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are vivid depictions of the path from trauma to transformation. As in psychotherapy, Scrooge revisits his past; by reclaiming the feelings he exiled as a child, Scrooge discovers compassion and connection.

The visitation to the present shows Scrooge familial abundance of spirit despite material poverty and possible death for Tiny Tim (also a representation of Scrooge’s own emotionally crippled inner child). The last scene, like the lysis of a dream, shows Scrooge the bleak future to which his miserly ways lead. Scrooge’s encounters with transpersonal power break through his defenses and transform him into a man of joyful and generous heart. Scrooge has learned from his former partner’s ghost that:

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”  

And so, as Tiny Tim declared, "God bless Us, Every One!”

Dec 19, 2019
Episode 089 - Sibling Complexes
01:05:35

Siblings are embedded in the human psyche as they are in life. Even if one lacks siblings, there is ready access to them through friends, fairy tales, myths, and scripture. All feature multiple experiences and examples of sibling solidarity and siblings as shadow carriers. Birth order, sex, temperament, and the quality of parental presence play a part in constellating the intense polarities of sibling relationships: competition and cooperation, admiration and envy, hierarchy and partnership, aggression and intimacy. We often carry the dynamics of early sibling relationships into adult life and project them onto individuals, work teams or social groups. Jung used the alchemical image of the soror mystica and the adept to represent a relational ideal, whether externally between self and other or internally between ego and unconscious. Each must have a respectful and equal say, from collaboration to confrontation. 

 

Dream

In my dream, I visited a pet shop to buy a snake. I had my dog with me. I looked around the store and couldn't find any reptiles, so I asked the staff and one of the employees told me they kept them in a separate room. He had no face and reminded me of a jailer as he carried a bunch of keys with him. The old wooden door we approached didn't match the rest of the store, which was very modern, friendly and light. As he unlocked the door, my dog tried to get in with us but I told her to wait outside. The room on the other side seemed to have no ceiling or visible end and was more like a dungeon or cave. On the right hand side from the door there was a wooden outdoor rabbit cage with six compartments. It was too dark to see the animals but I could hear some sizzling and strangely humming noises and saw that all of their skins had different patterns in black and white. The man asked me if I wanted to hold one and before I could say anything he opened one of the boxes and gave me a smaller snake. It felt warm and lively in my hands and I enjoyed holding it. I couldn't see its head, so I tried to get a closer look and as I held it closer to my face it started biting my hand a couple of times though it didn't really hurt and even if it did strike before every bite they felt more like it was just nibbling a bit. The man asked me if I was okay and I laughed and told him that I was not afraid of snakes. I handed it back to him and decided that I didn't really need a snake as a pet. As I opened the door to get back, my dog was excited to see me and I petted her for a while at the threshold. Through the open door some bright light fell on the cage and I looked back and finally got a closer look at the snakes. They were all sleeping and still making humming sounds, rolled up as snakes do but their heads looked like those of rabbits with no ears.

 

References (books available on Amazon) 

Newton, Lara. Brothers and Sisters: Discovering the Psychology of Companionship.

Fairy Tales: The Children of Lir, Six Swans.

Conroy, Pat. The Prince of Tides.

Jahren, Hope. Lab Girl

Film: Winged Migration

 

Dec 12, 2019
Episode 088 - Partings & Farewells
01:00:44

Partings connote a finality of farewell that signifies completion of a relationship. We may part from a stage of life, depart from home or college, or say farewell to a person, process or project. Partings signify the end of a story that has been told and reached conclusion. The Japanese tale of Princess Moonbeam illustrates the importance of accepting a necessary ending: those who could not do so were turned into statues, fixed in eternal stasis.

The refusal to part or devaluing its importance may indicate a lack of the selfhood necessary to suffer a loss and move into a new, even uncertain, future. Conscious parting honors meaning and connection. It allows us to honor the spring and summer of growth, celebrate autumn’s harvest, and accept the quietude of winter. Ideally, we can embrace the depth of feeling in a farewell and fall upon it willingly and with grace.

 

Dream
I was sitting behind a table in a narrow and small room. The placement of the table made it difficult to reach the only door out of the room. In the doorway was a reasonably pleasant African man, dressed in a uniform with various decorations. On the table, however, was a huge, dissected tarantula. Also in my possession I had some sort of file that warned me of the danger of the poisonous spider, apparently it had killed a man. I felt quite disturbed and claustrophobic in the small room, then I woke up.

Dec 05, 2019
Episode 087 - The Racial Complex with Dr. Fanny Brewster
01:28:17

Dr. Fanny Brewster, Jungian Analyst, colleague and friend, joins This Jungian Life to discuss her forthcoming book, The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race. Complexes tend to operate autonomously and unconsciously, have strong feeling-tones, and contain archetypal fuel. The racial complex, a complicated mix of color, class and culture, operates individually and collectively and in multiple ways. Although shadow projection and “othering” are intrinsic to the racial complex, America’s history of slavery further intensifies it. Like other complexes, the racial complex cannot be either denied or defeated—it can, however, be lifted into consciousness. As with any complex, learning, discussion and self-reflection can expand awareness, connection and compassion. 

 

Dream

The scene begins with me driving my car to a hotel. I park up in a space near the entrance and go inside. After I have looked around a bit I look out of the large window to see that I have left my dog, a brown Labrador, tied to the car. As it is a grey day the dog is laying down underneath lest it rain. A white woman in her 40s with curly hair appears along with two burly white bald men. The woman squats over the car and urinates onto the dog. I am furious and rush outside to rescue the dog, but the two men get in the way, manhandling me roughly. I know they are bigger than me and that I am outnumbered but I fight for my dog as I suddenly wake up. 

 

References (books available on Amazon) 

Brewster, Fanny. The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race (as of 11-21-19).

Brewster, Fanny. Archetypal Grief: Slavery’s Legacy of Intergenerational Child Loss. 

Brewster, Fanny. African Americans and Jungian Psychology: Leaving the Shadows.

Adams, Michael. The Multicultural Imagination: “Race”, Color and the Unconscious (Opening Out). 

Singer, Tom and Samuel L. Kimbles. The Cultural Complex.

DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism. 

Film: Get Out

Nov 28, 2019
Episode 086 - Splitting, Polarization & Conflict
01:08:40

It happens all the time: people and problems split into opposing camps, whether the conflict is internal, between partners, in a family or—as we know all too well—between political parties. When positions become polarized conflict ensues, whether between mind and body, partners and families, or value systems and religious affiliations. What makes it possible to reach across the chasm between entrenched extremes? The Jungian concept of holding the tension of the opposites allows energy, like electricity, to flow between both poles; each can have its full say. Instead of remaining mired in fixity or moral judgment, curiosity may open the way for a new attitude that transcends the polarities.

Dream
I am going for a holiday to Bali with my husband and best friend. We are running late for our flight. At the airport, I check in my huge suitcase, but then I realise I don't have my passport. A young man with dark hair, whom I know to be a playwright, says, 'Go to the counter. You look young, like a six year old. Act innocent. You should be able to talk your way on to the plane without a passport.' But I don't want to do this. Instead, I get in the car with my husband and friend. They are pissed at me. I know it is impossible to get back home to get my passport and make the flight. Part of me doesn't really care. I don't wan't to go to Bali. I feel busy and overwhelmed in my working life - so I want to stay to attend to things - and I don't like the tourist culture in Bali - it is infantilising. Still, I feel pulled in all directions. I have let down my companions. We stop by the side of the road to talk about it alongside an oil refinery. I say 'They have already boarded our luggage, so they are not going to take off without us.' Still, it is not clear what we should do from there.

References
Neumann, Eric. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic (Amazon).
Woodard, Colin. American Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Regional Cultures (Amazon).
Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (Amazon)

Nov 21, 2019
Episode 085 - Healing the Negative Father Complex
01:08:08

The archetype of the father is associated with gods, kingship, and other images of authority and order. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the father complex is powerful. In its negative aspect it may arise from a father who was experienced as absent, emotionally unavailable, passive, critical or abusive. Jung’s father complex influenced his adult relationship with Freud, to whom he wrote, "Let me enjoy your friendship not as that of equals but as that of father and son." Although the eventual break with Freud caused Jung years of inner turmoil, he later realized that they were also the deep source of all his subsequent work. Similarly, Charlotte Bronte and her sisters were able to use their father wounds for their literary creativity. Although healing the father complex can be difficult, taking on this inner task can provide energy for living more fully, freely, and individually. 

 

Dream

I woke up in a large, 3 story wooden house that was inhabited by 3 or 4 other people. One was a film director who was coaching a rather unwilling, melancholy actress. I explored the different areas of the home and came to the conclusion that this building was too old, and was being deconstructed for something new. The floorboards creaked, and the walls were peeling off the way tree bark does. After coming downstairs, back to the first floor, and walking down the main hallway, a knock sounded at the front door. First, I looked through the peephole. A grungy looking middle-aged man with short, grey hair and a week old beard stood, impatiently waiting. I opened the door, and he abrasively brushed past me, he was wearing a long, worn, dark gingerbread colored raincoat. At this moment, the importance of the decaying house vanished behind me, along with the strange director and actress. I was led down a short set of stairs to a jungle sized backyard wet with snow. I stood alone now, gazing at the canopies. In the distance, something caught his eye. An animal, alone amidst the fog & snow. A black panther stood, staring at me. I was afraid, and buried myself in the snow as the black panther came running full speed towards me. As this situation began to fade, I woke up in a hospital where I was being shown that his hip had been injured.

 

References

Lisa's article "Marrying Mr. Rochester: Redeeming the Negative Father Complex" For a PDF copy, please email thisjungianlife@gmail.com

The Chenoo

William Ronald Dodds Fairbairn, Scottish psychoanalyst

Von Franz, Marie-Louise. The Cat

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre and other works.

 

Nov 14, 2019
Episode 084 - Anger
01:16:04

Anger is a core human emotion. Newborns express instinctual cries of protest, and many a mythological god has wreaked archetypal havoc. Cultural norms around anger range from keeping a stiff upper lip to highly extraverted forms of expression. There are overall differences in how men and women tend to express anger; differences in temperament as well as situational stressors contribute to the intensity and frequency of angry feelings. Anger, like other emotions, is a source of information: it tells us when we feel violated in some way, and is linked to self-preservation. If fiery feelings can be understood first as a call to containment and self-reflection rather than reaction, it can fuel strategic thinking, emotional maturation and productive action.

 

Dream

I was in a national forest alone, wandering around. I spotted a giant bird lying face down in a clearing. It had dark purple feathers on its back, and I knew I should try to collect some, since that is what my sister would do. I reached over and quickly pulled a handful out. I got three purple feathers. The bird turned out to actually be alive. It jumped up and I jumped back in fear, dropping the feathers on the ground. There were three people in the distance, that I couldn’t visually see but I understood them to be my classmates. They exclaimed, “she is so crazy to do that.” I wanted to get the feathers back, but I was too afraid and ashamed to get them. 

 

References

Lerner, Harriet. The Dance of Anger (Amazon). 

Winnicott, Donald Hate in the Counter-Transference.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pmc › articles › PMC3330380

Nov 07, 2019
Episode 083 - Ghostly Encounters
01:07:24

People have reported experiences with ghosts from antiquity; Jung documented his encounters with mysterious sensed presences. How do we make meaning of such experiences? Are they visitations from external beings? Could they be related to unconscious reactions to toxic substances, auditory subtleties, or erratic electromagnetic fields? Neurological evidence links the stimulation of specific brain regions to feeling a ghostly presence. Stress, extreme hunger, physical hardship, loss, isolation, sleep deprivation, and mental illness also correlate to ghostly experiences, perhaps related to a lowered threshold of consciousness. Although there is no scientific proof of ghosts, age-old belief in soul survival extends credibility to the existence of ghosts. Jung offered no definitive answer to this question but felt that since the unconscious possesses subtle powers of perception it could project a visionary picture of a psychic situation. Ultimately, experiences of ghosts are, like dreams, psychic facts. 

 Dream

"I'm at my aunt's house. I'm sleeping there, and my daughter is having a sleepover with her friend in a different room. When she wakes, she comes over for a good morning hug and a kiss. I think about how nice that is. I'm drawing something on a piece of paper - two treasure chests, and some other things. I'm very intent on showing her the two treasure chests. I draw lines around one to show it's glowing. I think she'll be interested in them." 

 References

Seven Sermons to the Dead: Jung’s visionary material published in an appendix to his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

Wolfgang Pauli: theoretical physicist and pioneer of quantum physics with whom Jung met and worked.

Henri Corbin: a French philosopher, theologian, and professor of Islamic Studies; the mundus imaginalis refers to an imaginal level of reality that animates all life. 

Oct 31, 2019
Episode 082 - Medicating Psyche
01:11:36

The question of whether, when, and what psychoactive medications may be helpful is both big and ambiguous. Mental distress has always been strongly influenced by cultural filters and subjective perceptions. Whereas a person might once have sought to placate a god, sufferers today may turn to medical management rather than mining their psychological symptoms for meaning. In his autobiography Jung describes his years of mental turmoil—and that they became “the prima materia for a lifetime’s work”; his Red Book documents his encounters with the unconscious in compelling and artistic detail. There is much evidence of the potential suffering holds for self-awareness and psychological depth – and it is also important to acknowledge that judicious use of today’s medications can relieve unnecessary or pointless suffering. No matter where on the spectrum of severity emotional illness may lie, psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle, and relationships can all play a role in recovery and growth.

Dream
“I am walking toward a large concrete structure with an unbelievably fit, handsome and powerful man. He appears to be my friend although I am envious of his physical attributes. We climb into a small passage that leads to a clearing in which undulating hills descend into a body of fast-moving water. I am immediately struck that there is a goal or intention to swim across this water and scale a flat concrete wall which is about 100 feet up, facing us across the body of water. My companion says, “I've got this,” and “I do things like this all the time.” He jumps in the water at the exact moment I become aware of holes in the wall which then begin to fire cannonballs. I rush back to where we began to avoid the cannon barrage, but also (it seems) to “watch” the negotiation of the obstacle. I am now with another man who is soft and slightly overweight. I ask him where the best place to watch this endeavor is and he leads me up a stairwell to a room that contains two old CR TVs. One is large and a smaller one is on top of the larger. The room has a greenish-yellow carpet and it looks very much like the late ’70s or early ’80s. I feel sorry for the man because in that moment I realize this is all he can afford. Next, I am struck with an awareness that the fit man has successfully completed his endeavor – although I did not see it happen. I then become aware that the room adjacent to the one I am in is filled with two groups of women. The first group are sitting at a table conducting what appears to be an executive meeting. The second group are on the floor engaging in a yoga class. My wife is among the women doing yoga and her cousin is among the executives. I suddenly am struck by the realization that I am only wearing a t-shirt and I’m naked from the waist down, and I fear they will discover this.”

 

References
Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis (Amazon).
Whitaker, Robert. Anatomy of an Epidemic (Amazon).
Perry, John. The Far Side of Madness
Lingiardi & McWilliams. Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, Second Edition
Jung, C.G. The Red Book.

Oct 24, 2019
Episode 081 - Empathy
01:07:23

Empathy, the ability to feel into the suffering of another, is an intrinsic part of being human. We have such a capacity to imagine others’ experience that we react physiologically and emotionally to painful situations even in film. We are surprised, sometimes shocked, when the empathy we expect in a given situation is not forthcoming. Although empathic deficits create wounding, an overly empathic stance can also be problematic, fostering psychic stasis. Jung related empathy to the causal, or “mechanistic” aspect of analysis, in which painful past experiences are traced to their origin in order to more fully integrate feelings, expand consciousness, and depotentiate a complex. However, Jung also emphasized the “abstract,” or “final-energic” direction of traumatic experience, which is more objective and relates to achieving a state of equilibrium. We are thus asked to hold the tension between empathy for feelings—our own or another’s—and a more objective stance toward meaning, choice, and action.

Dream
I'm standing somewhere that is slightly above the level of the ground, and looking down on an alley that has water below. I know I have come to get into the water, but while looking at the way to get to the water is very steep and harsh. So I think of jumping. The water is very, very clear, and I see that after a few meters on the side of the wall that I'm standing on, it gets very deep and blue. So I think it might be very dangerous, if I throw myself in, and can't swim. I don't believe anyone will be able to either find me or help me get out of the water. So I don't jump. But for the rest of the dream I continue carrying a secret with myself that I should have jumped, but I haven't. It feels like having to do something, but not doing it.

Oct 17, 2019
Episode 080 - When Therapy Ends
01:13:04

A planned, collaborative termination is the ideal way to bring a depth-oriented therapeutic process to a close. The client may have resolved a problematic life issue and/or have achieved an abiding sense of wholeness. When both partners feel the client’s sense of completion and readiness for a new phase of life, this kind of termination can feel like a graduation, albeit with the poignancy farewells also entail. There are also less satisfying endings for both therapist and client. The fit between therapist and client may not be good enough to form a strong bond; illness, death or a geographic relocation may derail the process; interpersonal conflict may fail to be resolved; or financial difficulty may impose a premature ending. Jung compares a depth psychological process to combining chemicals in a vessel: although the goal is change in the service of individuation, both people are always affected.

 Dream

"I'm a student in a classroom. I recognize one student, someone I know who, like me, has a talent for deception and manipulation, but he is malicious and I am not...I've put a lot of work into not letting these aspects of myself run amok. This student is clearly not interested in the class and doesn't want to be here. I then realize this is a sort of "personality" class that we've been assigned because of our troubling traits. The teacher (a female I don't recognize) is on the verge of tears as she flips through a stack of papers which I understand to be transcripts of conversations between this other student and people he's treated badly...using their secrets against them, things like that. Another student leans over to me and whispers "she's going through yours next" and I say "but I don't do things like that". The teacher looks up at me still visibly upset, about to cry. She says to me "You're supposed to come back next week, right? Well, don't come, I don't have time to spend on a MAILBOX student like you" and I say to her "The way you're feeling right now, I've been making people feel like that my whole life and I'm very sorry."

Oct 10, 2019
Episode 079 - Grief & Bereavement
01:10:04

The death of a loved one is a loss that is part of the human condition and is universal. The Stranger -- mortality -- confronts us with a new need to accept the reality of our loss and pain, a process that can include ambivalent feelings. Relief and anger can be mixed with love and grief. Altogether, we must adjust to an absence where once there was presence, relearn how to experience the world of relationship, and perhaps take on new life responsibilities at a time of emotional turmoil. Ego may find itself first helpless, then bereft of the soul and spirit needed to reweave life and meaning. There is also the need to balance one’s continuing internal connection with the deceased and the task of moving on with one’s life in a fulsome way.

 

Dream

“There was a man (though he seemed not simply a man but some combination creature or child like or otherworldly-maybe something that can turn into something else) and he was lying down and sort of whimpering. He was wearing a long light colored robe. Then I realized that on his side he had a large gaping wound and rotting flesh and there were birds, many, families of birds feeding on his flesh. He was in great pain but also kind of trance like and internal. I had to help him. It was a grave situation. He couldn’t help himself. He was helpless. He seemed pathetic. It would be a really long painful death. I didn’t know what could help but thought maybe if I took a hose and I could force the birds off with water. I did that and maybe someone was helping me because as I hosed it seemed there were another set of hands “cleaning” or holding the birds that came off. It was arduous. I thought it was a great infection and how could I get him or it to a hospital. Then I woke up.”

 

References

Olson, Susan. By Grief Transformed: Dreams and the Mourning Process (Amazon)

Blackie, Sharon: If Women Rose Rooted: A Life Changing Journey to Authenticity and Belonging (Amazon)

https://www.griefshare.org

Oct 03, 2019
Episode 078 - Infertility
58:14

Hey TJL Fans,

There’s a great Jungian conference in Minneapolis MN this November 1 & 2.

Here’s a link to the flyer and since it’s by ‘invitation only’ just say, “This Jungian Life sent me” and you’re in! https://irsja.org/irsja-invitational-conference/

We three will be attending and if you see us be sure to say hello.

Cheers

Lisa, Deb, & Joseph

 

INFERTILITY: When the Mother Archetype Fails to Constellate

Medical technology has given the problem of fertility a scientific veneer. Our Promethean ability to manipulate gestational mysteries has wrested power from what was once the domain of the gods. Fulfillment of the promise of pregnancy seems to lie within reach, although it may entail incurring financial debt and enduring intense emotional cycles of desire, hope and disappointment. Holding the tension between the fire of psychic activation and physical incarnation is an age-old theme. Many fairy tales begin with a couple going to great lengths to fulfill their longing for a child, only to then confront the shadow aspects of desire. Human fertility is not limited to the physical gestation of a baby. Its essence, creativity and futurity, also includes ideas, energy, and goals. New life does not come from the conscious side of the personality alone.

 

Dream

“I’m visiting a childhood friend and his Father. He has joined the military, and killed a lot of People, which has led to a nasty drinking habit. We drink together. He has formidable skills with a rifle. We wrestle together (for fun). I win. I give him a piece of advice: "make sure you know why you kill People before you kill them" the Dream ends when I realize I can’t drive home because I’ve been drinking. Considering a taxi, but too expensive.”

Sep 26, 2019
Episode 077 - Chronic Complaining
01:07:18

Complaining is universal, perhaps, like gossiping, one of the first uses to which developed language was put. Overall, a complaint can refer to a perceived legal injustice, medical symptom, or other personally painful matter. The chronic complainer feels a lack of agency, and implicitly pleads for emotional support and/or effective action from another. A complaint may therefore range from a request for empathic engagement to an effort to assign responsibility to others. Listeners have a felt sense of a complaint’s legitimacy; we resonate to injustice and its reparation in the tale of The Goose Girl. We feel exasperation with the heroine’s petulant entitlement in the tale of The Princess and the Pea, and take satisfaction in the punishment of greed in The Fisherman and His Wife. A chronic complaint is a call to identify and understand an underlying problem rather than externalizing it.

 

Dream

“There was a man (though he seemed not simply a man but some combination creature or child like or otherworldly -- maybe something that can turn into something else) and he was lying down and sort of whimpering. He was wearing a long light-colored robe. Then I realized that on his side he had a large gaping wound and rotting flesh and there were birds, many families of birds feeding on his flesh. He was in great pain but also kind of trance-like and internal. I had to help him. It was a grave situation. He couldn’t help himself. He was helpless. He seemed pathetic. It would be a really long painful death. I didn’t know what could help but thought maybe if I took a hose I could force the birds off with water. I did that and maybe someone was helping me, because as I hosed it seemed there was another set of hands “cleaning” or holding the birds that came off. It was arduous. I thought it was a great infection and how could I get him or it to a hospital. Then I woke up.”

 

References

Video: It’s Not About the Nail (YouTube). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg

Sieff, Daniela. Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma (Amazon).

Sep 19, 2019
Episode 076 - Animus & Anima
01:10:21

Although these Jungian concepts have become familiar psychological terminology, they remain difficult to understand. According to Jung, animus and anima are innate psychic structures shaped significantly by the archetypal world, whereas the shadow is predominantly shaped by personal experiences of ego formation. Whereas shadow tends to be rejected, animus and anima fascinate and attract. Although images like sol / luna or yin / yang amplify the a priori nature of these inner opposites, the animus corresponds to the paternal Logos and the anima to the maternal Eros. Parents are the first external experience of this innate predisposition, and a developmental psychic trajectory may be inferred from mythology and individual dream images. Animus and anima represent adaptation and attitude to the inner world; they serve as the bridge to the collective unconscious and are experienced as “other.”

 Dream

In the first scene, my guy and I are watching each other masturbate over Skype. He's in his house and he ejaculates on his real wood floor. In the second scene, we're in my parents' house; they aren't there but there are children's toys around. He masturbates himself and ejaculates on their laminate wood floor. I'm anxious about this and clear up. In the third scene, I arrive in a cavernous Victorian public restroom below ground level, in London. The first chamber is a men's urinal and lots of men are pleasuring each other, it's a lively scene and they invite me in but I refuse. I move to another chamber, which is a spa, but I don't go in. In between the two chambers is a lecture theatre, and my guy is giving a work presentation to an audience. He doesn't acknowledge my arrival and I sit next to the projector under the raked chairs where the audience is sitting, and watch him present. He won't be able to see me, as he'd be blinded by the projector, but I can see him.

 References:

Anima and Animus by Emma Jung

Sep 12, 2019
Episode 075 - Negative Mother Complex: When Our Painful Childhood Owns Us
01:04:12

Healing a Negative Mother Complex

As the mother is the generator of life and usual primary attachment figure, the mother complex is universal. As the image of a “personified affect” fueled by an archetypal core, the mother complex is especially powerful. In its negative aspect, it may arise from a mother who was experienced as uncaring, attacking, possessive, withholding, absent, or wounded. It is likely to show up in relationships with others and in the relationship with oneself. Fairy tales like The Raven and Six Swans teach us that healing a negative mother complex takes time and perseverance—and that we may be aided by an animus prince or an anima princess, images of the autonomous unconscious. By responding to the turmoil of the mother complex one can embrace the task of finding the mother within.                                                                                                                                                                                        Dream

"Last night I had a dream I was in a cave that had mosaic designs all over the walls. They were old ancient ruins like from Ancient Greece or Turkey. The first one was of some type of fertility goddess-like Ishtar or Lilith, but I can’t remember the details exactly. But the image frightened me, and I was afraid to go inside. Then above the ruins, there was a church. It was an Eastern Orthodox Church. It sort of reminded me of the Hagia Sofia. A painting of the Black Madonna was hanging on the wall. All the church members were women and the pastor was a woman as well. I don’t recall what we were talking about or what the pastor was saying, but I was transfixed upon that painting. That’s all I can remember."

References

Book: Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

YouTube: Clay Weiner (“Videos”: Mothers Day) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAxfh8ukosQ

 

Sep 05, 2019
Episode 074 - Borderline Personality Disorder
01:03:48

While psychiatric diagnostic labels often reify the complexities of psychological dynamics, they can also orient us to the essential qualities of a particular emotional and behavioral field. BPD is characterized by difficulty with affect regulation, intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, impulsive behavior, and a tendency toward highly polarized emotions: idealization/elation versus devaluation/despair. BPD is associated with early relational deficits, especially in caretakers’ capacity to maintain connection when their child is angry or aggressive.

If intense early emotional states have not been well moderated, they can take on the force of emotional tsunamis, overwhelm the ego, and lead to impetuous and self-harming behaviors. A deep therapeutic and human process can re-inspire the possibility that one can find one’s center in a human relationship.

 

Dream

"A dog-like creature is climbing on my mother’s shoulder, wounding her ribs with its claws. It is trying to hug her shoulder while she is attempting to get rid of it. The brown dog is crying desperately. I am there as well and turn around to avoid seeing the scene. My mother pulls the creature to the floor, violently opens its mouth and pours poison into it. The brown dog is crying desperately. I am there as well and turn around to avoid seeing the scene."

 

References

Blog: Lifeinabind.com

Book: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder; Paul and Randi Kreger

Book: Understanding the Borderline Mother; Christine Lawson

 

Aug 29, 2019
Episode 073 - Procrastination
01:07:14

We all procrastinate. Tasks from making a doctor’s appointment to preparing taxes to doing the laundry invite us to put off until tomorrow what we can postpone today. We may distract ourselves by going online, doing errands, or minimizing the time a job will take. Although procrastination signals that a given task is hard and emotionally charged, it buys only temporary escape from anxiety. Furthermore, procrastination can lead to disappointment in oneself that can undermine the self-confidence needed to face subsequent challenges. We are called to the hero’s journey in confronting the dragon of deficiency that inhabits our inner world as procrastination. If we dare to begin, we can find the help we need, and may discover that the task itself is not as onerous as we imagined--and that we are more.

 

Dream

I'm in what looks like a large garage. There is a band playing for maybe 15 people. A man with the mic asked me who I wanted to hear play. I automatically said “Anthony Green” who is an artist I haven't listened to since college. He happened to be in the audience and he got up on stage. The band started playing “Dear Child.” It's a joyous-sounding song with a lot of energy. A line that repeats is “I've been trying to reach you, but my extension cord wouldn't reach that far." As the band was playing, a bunch of little fires started on the floor and the walls. Everyone including me was running around putting out the fires with our bare hands and by stomping. The band kept playing this whole time. The mood was still light and joyous despite the "emergency." Most of the fires were out. I saw through a vent in the wall that there was a raging fire in the basement. I looked back up and the entire room had transformed into a much more industrial and bigger building. It was some kind of modern factory. A woman who worked in this building took me to the stairs to get into the basement so we could put out the fire. She was around my age. We started going down the stairs and at the bottom of the stairs was a big dark tunnel. I started flipping random switches to try and turn the lights on so I could get to the fire. After maybe 10 seconds of failing, the woman ran into the dark toward the fire without saying anything. I woke up. While awake I listened to the song again and read along with the lyrics. I was in shock when I heard "Dear sleeper, you could have had the better bed. I loved to watch the way you grew." I felt like my psyche was saying that directly to me.

 

References

Prochasa, James. Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward.

 

New York Times article on procrastination

Aug 22, 2019
Episode 072 - Puer – Puella: Trapped in the Inner Child
01:07:43

If the passage into fullsome adulthood is avoided, a person can be trapped in the world of childhood. This protected realm is a nexus of potential, defined by avoiding the rigors of the real for the pleasures of possibility. Peter Pan, who chose to remain in never-never-land, is a well-known image for the flighty ingenuousness of the puer or puella. What stops libido from becoming more grounded in order to engage in more purposeful, ego-strengthening commitments? Charles Dickens’ Bleak House portrays a protagonist who felt that dedication and discipline were intolerably confining. Rapunzel, however, broke out of her elevated tower when a prince kindled her desire to bond in a more earthly way. If an initiatory experience does not activate libido, and the protected world of childhood is not sacrificed, entrapment in a marginal life may ensue.

 

Dream

I was in a dark forest at night with my youngest son (he's 10). We were standing at the top of an exterior staircase attached to a house, which was situated at the edge of a large clearing in the forest. The house had bright spotlights shining onto the clearing, and I could see small animals all wandering through it. I felt like I wanted to go into the forest, but had to wait for something. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. A mountain lion had appeared on the edge of the clearing. As soon as it stepped into the clearing, it changed into a very large snake. It began slowly making it's way through the clearing, killing the small animals. It was killing them, but not eating them. I saw it begin to "devour" a smaller poisonous snake. The large snake had it's head tipped back in such a way that I could see it had a hole in the underside of it's throat. So it was clamping the smaller snake with its teeth, swallowing, and pulling it through its mouth, but the smaller snake was falling out through the hole in it's neck back onto the ground. My son and I began to run down the stairs and skirt around the edges of the clearing. I needed to get into the forest at a certain location and it was on the far side from the house. I stopped briefly when I noticed a dead kitten right at the edge of the forest. It had been ripped in half by the snake. Another kitten was there. It was so young it's eyes were not open. It was trying to crawl into the forest for safety. I felt...like I was rooting for it. Hoping for it to survive. But I had no urge to pick it up and help it. The large snake noticed us running. It changed back into the mountain lion and began after us before we could get to the far end of the clearing. I noticed a hunter's tree stand just inside the forest at the side of the clearing we had made it to. We ran for it. I kept checking to make sure my son was still with me. I began running up the stairs to the tree stand, and when I reached the top, noticed he was no longer with me. I panicked, began looking around. I noticed a black panther was now in the trees below the stand, jumping from branch to branch. The mountain lion was staying back because of it. The panther jumped up into the tree stand beside me, and changed into my son. "I keep forgetting I do not need to be afraid for you" I said to him. And then I woke.

Aug 15, 2019
Episode 071 - Self Talk
01:07:17

Although only some of us talk aloud to ourselves, all of us have inner voices, even if we are not aware of them. These autonomous parts of ourselves provide running commentary on how and what we are doing. Are our inner commentators friendly and supportive, or critical and attacking? We turn to fairy tales, stories that arise from the collective unconscious, for wisdom about our relationship with those parts of ourselves that tend to operate autonomously. The Ill-Fated Princess must climb a mountain to confront and befriend her “bad Fate,” after which her destructive unconscious complex befriends her. In Vasalisa the Beautiful, a loving mother gives her daughter a doll that provides good advice in difficult situations. The bad Fate and Vasalisa’s doll illustrate the process of noticing how we relate to other parts of ourselves—and by changing a negative inner dynamic we become more whole.

 

Dream

I am alone in Aunt Gloria’s house and I know I’m there because I am house- and pet-sitting for her. There are several cats I’m taking care of but suddenly a bird flies in the window and all the cats are chasing it. Then a stray cat gets in and all are hissing and bristling. I run down the stairs and there are two mice on an armrest, but one appears almost dead. When I look closer, it is dead and there is a note by it that says something like “Satan, I know you could’ve done this deal yourself.” I look up and a bedraggled and skinny old man is standing at the top of the stairs and I know then his name is brandy-mouthed Bob. I’m frightened of him. He comes down the stairs toward me aggressively and said, “ Should we throw some punches?” I didn’t know what to do so I grabbed his skinny wrists and tried to hold his arms back, afraid he would bite me.

Aug 08, 2019
Episode 070 - Dating
01:12:44

We define dating as the quest for serious partnership or ongoing companionship. Today’s dating world is radically different from that of even a generation ago, and is light years away from previous generations. Dating apps and social media expedite and expand the range the search for a suitable other - and often turns dating into an exercise in personal marketing. Dating also now spans an age range from teens to older - even elderly - divorced or widowed adults. If today’s dating culture provides individuals with autonomy and choice, it also denies them the safeguards provided by family, religious, and cultural norms. The online persona may be very different  from the actual person, from age and appearance to character misrepresentation. Lacking social context and mutually understood social norms, individuals are required to be more aware of what they seek in another. They also need to be more aware of the projections and relational complexes to which they are susceptible.

 

Dream

I was in a big Catholic cathedral; maybe in Spain or Italy. A mass was about to start. A usually generous friend of mine pushed passed me and took the last seat with a good view, one-in from the end of a row. Then I was standing near what seemed to be the tower of an Anglican church, which stood inside the Catholic cathedral. The doors of the tower flew open and a 2 metre tall black plinth on wheels was pushed out. On the plinth was a devilish/trickster character in a black Renaissance costume, making a scary face like Hannibal Lecter. I felt some fear but also the thrill of the theatrical spectacle.

Aug 01, 2019
Episode 069 - Retirement
01:01:13

The life transition we call retirement mandates a major readjustment in how time, energy and money are spent, whether retirement means becoming a “snowbird” or having a stepped-down lifestyle. Work has structured the rhythm of life and time; most have found aspects of identity, status, and socialization at work, regardless of how fulfilling, arduous or well paid it may have been. Shakespeare’s King Lear and the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon illustrate contrasting inner attitudes and their outcomes. Jung believed that the second half of life had a prospective and healing function in the psyche. If retirement can be considered redirection, these years hold promise: life can now be oriented to internal life and meaning, especially awareness of the ego’s secondary place in relation to the Self.

 

Dream

I am in a McDonald’s, waiting for my younger sister to collect her meal. Her order is called and we pick it up, the meal is excessive – a huge portion of chips and lots of nuggets, so I steal a chip. As she is eating I look around; the McDonald’s is filthy and disgusting. There are graffitied yellow plastic chairs, dim lighting and a bare concrete floor covered in litter. It smells disgusting - like stale chip fat and smoke. People are smoking inside and everyone looks mean/dodgy/scary dirty. I do my best to avoid eye contact with them all. As we leave a smelly and dirty older man holds out the door and asks where I am sleeping tonight. I feel disgusted and rush away. As I turn a corner I am in a dark alleyway. My sister has gone. I check my pockets and my bus pass, phone and keys have also gone. I have no money or way to get home but I know I need to get to the bus stop to get away from this place. I glance over my shoulder and a hooded man is following me. I walk faster and then turn to look again, this time he starts running towards me. As he gets closer I realize he has no face. As he approaches me at fast pace his outstretched arm strikes me very hard in the throat. The pain felt so real I jolted awake - heart racing and panting.

 

References

Frankl, Viktor E. Man’s Search for Meaning, Beacon Press, 1959 (and subsequent editions).  http://a.co/g0wAOJk

Jul 25, 2019
Episode 068 - Chronic Illness
01:06:07

Chronic illnesses affect many, creating diminishment of physical ability and energy for life activities. There can be loss of agency, loss of one’s expected future, and a sharpened awareness of loss of life. There is a new need for conscious intention and reality-based decisions in order to avoid denial while adjusting to limitations and managing self-care. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss emotional factors in the loss of the healthy, autonomous self –and the possibility of a profound shift in inner life. The blindness of mythological figures like Tiresias and Oedipus symbolized the development of inner vision; Jungian Harry Wilmer used active imagination to personify his tuberculosis bacteria. And Jung believed that chronic illness could serve the process of individuation.

 

Dream

In this latest dream it was a massive, hard, dry poo that wouldn’t come out so I had to get my fingers in and stretch my skin around it to help it pass, thinking as I did about how it must be like giving birth and I understood why doctors cut the skin. The scene was back in the home I grew up in with my parents and brother who is 18 months older than me. In the dream the toilet looked straight into the kitchen. Mum was in the kitchen the whole time encouraging me but not directly helping. Dad was in and out of the room aware of what I was dealing with but not getting involved. I think to myself, for a man who has always been so embarrassed by his own bodily functions, even that is an impressive level of involvement. Our neighbors over the fence - a house full of boys - could partially see and hear what was going on as well. When the poo finally passed my brother and Dad both came in to inspect it with me. It was the size and weight of a house brick and my brother was fascinated by it. He picked it up and took a photo of it and laughed a little bit with me about it. I didn’t otherwise find the situation funny but went along with him. Then there was still a small bit in there so I had to repeat the ordeal again to get rid of that too.

 

References

Edinger, Edward. Anatomy of the Psyche: Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy.

Wilmer, Harry. Huber the Tuber: A Story of Tuberculosis 

Berger, Peter L. A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural.

Jul 18, 2019
Episode 067 - Early Abandonment
01:08:10

Experiences of physical abandonment are depicted in stories old and new as ways of out-picturing traumas of early relational abandonment. Jung articulated the archetypal foundation of what later psychologists came to call attachment theory. In an infant’s primal state of identification with a mothering other, lack of caregiver availability and attunement constitutes psychic abandonment. This is depicted in fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and the more recent film, Pan’s Labyrinth. Both image of the inner world of the emotionally abandoned child: the archetypal world first comes forward to protect the abandoned child, only to become persecutory, like the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Abandonment may become internalized, manifesting as denial of one’s own feelings and needs. Getting in touch with one’s longing for a loving other, and grieving early loss is often the road to redemption.

 

Here’s the dream we discuss:

I'm in a house by the sea, to see and somehow help a woman. I first meet her outside - a dark, handsome man is a few paces behind her and I take him to be her lover. She appears to be in her 30s.

 

Later we are inside with her family - her father has invited me there. Her husband (older, pudgier and more domesticated than her lover, but seemingly intelligent and relatively attractive) and father are talking about a sailing trip. She, sitting off to the side, interjects that she's always wanted to do a long solo voyage. Clearly this is a conversation that has happened before. Her father says it wouldn't be safe, and her husband agrees. Either she or I (I'm unsure) comment that they are more worried about her being dangerous than they are something happening to her. At this point I/we are thinking of the lover, who the family are unaware of.

 

The father calmly comments that there's a large wave rising on the sea. He's standing at a window watching it. I come to take a look - it's huge; more tidal wave than wave. It breaks on the house and starts to wash it away. I'm holding on and realise that I'm in an untenable situation. I go back in time slightly, and this time as the wave hits I climb into a wooden box.

 

After the water has receded I get out and try to find the family. I find the father and husband, but cannot see the woman. I'm unsure if that's because she was swept away, or because now I am the woman.

 

References

Kalsched, Donald. The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit.

Jul 11, 2019
Episode 66 - Cults
54:28

Although cults occasionally make the headlines through tragedy or scandal, the defining features of cults are inherently human and manifest on spectrums of both severity and size. The word cult is derived from culture. While culture refers to the overarching characteristics of a society, cult refers negatively to a marginalized subgroup. Cults tap into universal human feelings and desires, such as the need to belong and resonance to parental influence. Although as adults we are no longer dependent on family and tribe for physical survival, our psychological needs for safety and attachment remain powerful. Deb, Lisa, and Joseph consider today’s polarized political divisions, the power of a rock concert or Fourth of July parade, and other ways in which the tension between the opposites of belonging and individuation manifests.

 

Dream

I am my current self with my current boyfriend, but I had just got married to a woman. This woman had a very powerful presence and felt radiant. She gave me a beautiful silver ring with a turquoise stone, but it didn't fit properly so I kept losing it. Each time I found it, she would add to the ring and make it even more beautiful. I told my boyfriend that I married her and that I am very happy. He took it well, and asked if we could still talk to each other and see each other every day. I said I didn't think there was a problem with that.

 

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Jul 04, 2019
Episode 65 - Burnout
01:09:59

Burnout is a relatively new term for job-related distress or an ongoing life situation that is unsatisfying, defeating, and creates a sense of despair. Burnout robs us of our sense of control and agency—we feel unable to change the troubling situation. Burnout can also be related to our internalized parents, moral convictions, and sense of duty. We can count on fairy tales, our psychic skeletons, to provide wisdom on resolving age-old human situations, even if they are couched in new terminology.

In Rumpelstiltskin a young woman is told she must turn straw into gold, a mission-impossible situation. The Water of Life depicts a dying king, representative of a masculine ruling principle, who needs healing water to renew the psychic situation. We may, like the maiden faced with a roomful of straw, need to find new possibility and empowerment—or discover the inner well within that provides new water for a parched attitude. Accessing one’s internal sense of vocation, purpose and meaning has always been—and remains—necessary and attainable.

 

Here’s the dream we discuss

I find myself in a dark place, somewhere else, and I am hearing a male voice that I cannot see (coming from behind me towards the left side of my body) telling me what to do. I am obeying submissively, wanting him to know I was docile and serving him completely. I was simply cleaning a coffee machine; it seemed like an easy and ordinary task he had asked me to do and I wanted to show him how well I could do it. Suddenly, what I thought to be a black coffee machine turned out to be a human-sized male mannequin. The voice said: clean him too, clean him well. It had a wig with black mid-long hair and it had a disturbing fixed expression on its face like a rictus. It was wearing a black tuxedo with a frilly white shirt underneath.

It scared me and disturbed me a bit but I was completely drawn to the voice and wanted to serve it, so I was cleaning with devotion--a long, creepy, silent moment. I really didn't like its outfit, and the voice then ordered me to change the mannequin's clothes to something less ceremonial. I mentally browsed my ex-husband's clothes for casual jeans and a casual shirt for the mannequin that I could grab but realized that the jeans were too small for him. I realized that the mannequin couldn't fit in "normal" less attention-grabbing clothes. The presence of that mannequin was so creepy that I woke up.

 

References

 

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Jun 27, 2019
Episode 64 - Voyages
01:02:16

Although the word voyage connotes a sea journey, this episode considers a voyage to be an intentional trip of any kind. A voyage can range from a vacation in Vegas to a pilgrimage to a sacred site. Such journeys may be solitary, or, like the famed pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales, in the company of fellow travelers. We tell our stories to others and to ourselves, companioned by our own inner images and/or others. Voyages take us to unfamiliar places, and a changed external environment stimulates projections, judgments and reactions. Free of the constraints of cultural norms and internalized values, a new landscape provides an opportunity to experience ourselves as a stranger to others -- and perhaps to ourselves. When at last we return home we are changed, perhaps transformed.

 

Here’s the dream we discuss:

 

(This dream was 15yrs ago) I am leading a group of men walking up a cobblestone road in a village high up in the Himalayas. I have a wooden staff and am walking quickly. A panicked man runs towards us saying "They have the children!" We start to run toward a large wooden building with a stone roof. The only access is a wooden staircase. I climb the staircase that leads to an open room with children pinned in fear against the walls. In the centre of the room is a demon with a highly muscular body covered in fine red hair and a pig/human head. There are many more in the room. It ignores us and is about to rape a young naked boy who is bent over in front of it. My fear turns to white anger and my staff turns into a sword which I lift up to my right ear with both hands. The demon turns to me just as I cut its head off. A pitched battle starts between my men and the demons. We initially succeed but the demons start to conquer. My last thought is calm and peaceful. It is "Today I die but what a way to die."

 

Resources

 

You can read more here about the Philadelphia Jung Seminar.

 

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Jun 20, 2019
Episode 63 - Tears
01:09:55

We all shed tears. We cry when we are sad, but also when we are glad, surprised by beauty, love, or touched by other deeply felt and uniquely human experiences. Tears, and our access to them, are part of what makes us human, and when we cannot find our tears we have lost a vital link to feeling, whether for another or a part of ourselves. In their negative aspect, tears can signify the falseness of crocodile tears or affective hardening and bitterness; teardrop tattoos represent experiences of violence. In this episode Deb, Lisa and Joseph circumambulate various aspects of the significance of tears, using the touchstones of fairy tales, alchemy, myth, religion and more to uncover the importance of tears, especially in their redemptive, or whole-making, aspect.

 

Dream:

I was a prince in a European kingdom in the Middle Ages. I was gathered with the royal family in a small but lavish room of our castle. The kingdom was suffering due to the ineptitude, corruption, and libertinism of the royal family. One princess was a harlot, and drained funds that ought to have been spent on the people. I conspired with the monk, robed in black, to kill the royal family in order to save the kingdom. I slaughtered all of them with my sword. I even killed the children present, feeling the cruelty of my act, because I knew that if I let them live they would grow up to take revenge on me. There was gallons of blood. After the killing was done, I was physically and emotionally drained, and I didn't know if I had actually saved the kingdom or committed pointless slaughter. The kingdom was nearly empty, for much of the populace had fled earlier due to the royal family's corruption.

Jun 13, 2019
Episode 62 - The Psychology of a Victim
57:09

We can experience powerful feelings of empathy for those who are victims of trauma in all its heartbreaking dimensions. It is difficult even to consider a shadow side to this already dark aspect of human experience. Nevertheless, it is important also to consider the difference between lived experiences of victimization and meaning-making narratives that not only can become calcified, but self-reinforcing. If entrenched, narratives of victimization can become part of one’s identity and suppress life energy. Lisa, Deb and Joseph differentiate the emotions involved in suffering, mourning and acceptance from more reified states of powerlessness. They describe how the presence of a wisely witnessing other can help with healing, empowerment, and finding the path ahead to a more liberated sense of self.

Dream

I am being held in a prison against my will and I am sharing a cell with a male colleague from work. The cell is very cold and silent. The whole place feels very sterile. When I look out of the window, I realize we are imprisoned on the moon. My male colleague is talking to me with an intensity in his expression. He is demanding a lot of my attention and he says he wants me and needs me and that he has been having dreams about me- but I am trying to focus on getting out of the cell. Hesays it’s too late, and we are going to be executed in the most cosmic way- by being ejected into a black hole together.

References

Eye Movement Desensitization Movement (EMDR)

Jun 06, 2019
Episode 61 - Individuation
01:09:23

Individuation, the central concept of Jung’s psychology, is the foundational image and aspiration of Jungian psychoanalysis – and life. It is the theme of many a fairy tale, the sought-for treasure of a quest, and the “juice” that makes symbols compelling. Individuation has an innate developmental arc and a psychological trajectory that allows us to bring conscious intention to our own individuation process. However, vital transformational events are not simply occurrences ego alone can command; they are ultimately mysterious. They arise independently from the unconscious and what Jung termed the Self, the center, circumference and true center of the personality. In this episode Joseph, Lisa and Deb circumambulate and amplify the concept of individuation and images of the Self.

 

The Dream:

In the beginning of the dream, it's morning. I'm waiting for my father in the house where I grew up. We are about to drive halfway across the country to look at graduate schools. It is nearing afternoon and we still haven't left the house. I know from previous experience that it takes more than a full day of driving to reach our destination, which leaves me feeling anxious.

 

Now my parents and I are in the car heading down the highway. From the backseat, where I used to sit, I'm looking outside. We reach an empty stretch of road surrounded on either side by farmland. The sky is overcast- halfway between rain and sunset; I notice a few geese flying across the road from the left of my line of vision in a small V-shaped formation. Once they have reached the other side they circle back, flying in the opposite direction; they have doubled in numbers and form a more unified chevron.

 

I am standing in a field with my girlfriend. We are watching the dark shapes of the geese bobbing in the dusk. Suddenly they start to glow, one by one, as if each is carrying on their bodies a neon orb, similar to a brake light. I look down in the mud by my shoes and see a broken red light, one that could fit on a bike; I tell my girlfriend that the cracked object must have come from the geese. She agrees with me, which I find very reassuring.

May 30, 2019
Episode 60 - Psychological Dismemberment: Why We Can’t Stay Connected
59:31

Images of physical dismemberment are often used in fairy tales, dreams and art to depict psychological fragmentation, numbing and other forms of disconnection. Such cut-offs, dissociations, and splits may be related to earlier relational trauma, and constitute defenses against experiences perceived as too overwhelming for consciousness to absorb or even acknowledge. Experience can be dissociated, or dismembered, behaviorally, emotionally, bodily, and by denying memory or knowledge of events. Jungian Analyst Donald Kalsched posits an inner dynamic that is both protective and persecutory. Such understandings can point the way to a healing process of re-membering those parts that have been cut off, thereby giving disowned feelings and experiences a fully felt place in consciousness.

The Dream

"In this dream, I remember being in a building that reminded me of a hospital or perhaps an asylum. It was very clinical looking (i.e. lots of steel and glass, white and silver walls / trim, people in smocks or scrubs). I was walking up a small stairway and looked through a doorway to see blood and body parts on the ground in front of me. Somehow I know that it was two separate bodies, but I do not know who they belonged to. When I saw the body parts, I was anxious and had to stop myself from passing out inside the dream because I had a feeling that whoever did that to the bodies could be nearby. As I gathered myself, I began to walk away from the bodies very calmly to avoid drawing attention to myself. As I walked away I saw a man, probably in his fifties or sixties, also a stranger, carrying a silver platter with more body parts. As I passed him, he said hello and smiled as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I then ran out of the building and vaguely remember running through a maze that had been set up on a basketball court until I was outside the building in a small grass field. The building was made of brick and seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It had that look that many academic buildings have on college campuses."

References

Kalsched, Donald. The Inner World of Trauma, Routledge, 1996.

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book, Harper, 2008.

Little, Margaret. Psychotic Anxieties and Containment: An Analysis with Donald Winnicott.

Henderson, Joseph L. and Dyane N. Sherwood. Transformation of the Psyche, Routledge, 2003.

For an image of The Golden Head

May 23, 2019
Episode 59 - Offense and Outrage
01:07:06

Anything that disappears from your psychological inventory is apt to turn up in the guise of a hostile neighbor, who will inevitably arouse your anger and make you aggressive. It is surely better to know that your worst enemy is right there in your own heart.

~CG Jung, Vol 10, para 456

 

Very often the ego experiences a vague feeling of moral defeat and then behaves all the more defensively, defiantly, and self-righteously, thus setting up a vicious circle which only increases its feeling of inferiority. ~CG Jung Vol 9ii, para 34

 

We all take offense, from feeling miffed at a thoughtless but cutting comment to being suffused with righteous rage. Others may fail to meet our expectations, agree with deep values, or hold us in positive regard. These experiences can spark effective and defensive reactions, since what offends us often lies in our shadow and is incompatible with how we wish to be perceived. Taking offense also occurs at a cultural level. “Offenders” can be publicly excoriated, exiled from a group or organization, or denied the right to deliver a speech. The experience of offense can be a call to differentiate between a feeling and actual harm—and to meet the implicit challenge of holding the tension between the comfort of being “right” and an opportunity to engage in growth.

 

The Dream:

My neighbor, a 20-something guy who works in the "alternative healing" field, and who I don't usually talk to much, was being friendly, chatting with me about his band and their website. Then he was telling me about a lemon tincture he was taking. He would mix it with blood and drink it. He said I should go to his house and get some and try it, and that if I didn't have any blood, I should order some. He said this as if I could call a delivery service and the blood would show up at my door in no time. I inwardly balked at the idea of drinking blood. I told him I would mix it with water instead, and he said no, that blood was the only way to do it. He said, "Trust me. It's way better with blood." I didn't say so, but I was shocked that he was drinking blood. To me, it was just too crazy and weird and gross, even if it did have some kind of miraculous healing properties. I was willing to try the tincture, but not in blood, though I didn't tell him this.

May 16, 2019
Episode 58 - The Art & Practice of B*tchiness
01:09:16

In this episode, the archetype of the bitch is explored using fairy tales, mythology, and popular culture to shed light on this colloquial, pejorative term. The term is applied most frequently to assertive women - and to men acting in a way deemed "feminine" - who are either not sufficiently in touch with their own authentic power or seem overly invested in power dynamics. What is the secret of authentic feminine power?

 

We reference the myths of Cassandra, Persephone, Inanna, The Frog Prince (Grimm), and The Devil Wears Prada (film), Spirited Away (film), Boys in the Band (film). 

 The Dream:

"I’m walking into a room in which there’s a group of men standing around a table, most of them are looking intently at it. I see there is a map spread across the table. One of the men looks up from it, and nods toward the table, inviting me to take a closer look. In the middle of the map, there’s a round symbol I’ve never seen before, and this is what has the group so rapt. I’m not sure what it is, but I get the sense that it is very important, so I lean in to examine it closely. It’s a circle inscribing a sort of rivet/mushroom/umbrella shape. On one side of the stem are two squares, and on the other side is one square. I wake up with a sense of urgency and immediately go to draw the shape."

May 09, 2019
Episode 57 - Ambivalence
01:00:37

Having mixed feelings, or strongly opposing feelings is a normal occurrence in human life. We can find ourselves in a quandary about big decisions, upcoming life events, or experience being stuck without quite knowing why. Deb, Joseph, and Lisa consider various facets of ambivalence: anxiety around foreclosing options and missing out fear of regret over a possible wrong choice, or inability to raise complexes and shadow elements into consciousness. All aspects of the personality need to be allowed to dialogue and have it out with one another. Instead of complicating matters and adding to stasis, this process releases energy for movement in life. We can come to accept the certainty of uncertainty—and find our life-giving psychic wellsprings.

 

The Dream:

I was walking on a cobbled street looking for a store where honey was sold. I was looking for honey to heal (however, I don't know what was that I needed to heal). I entered into the store through what seemed to be the back door. Inside, I saw wooden shelves with glass mason jars full of different-colored honey on them. The room was rustic and had a dim light, though sunrays illuminated it. One of my great aunts from my mother's side, whose name is C., was there working, filling up bottles with honey. She greeted me and was happy to see me as she always is, and

the owner of the place, whose face I don't remember, came to me and told me the honey would help me heal. He gave me honey. I think I ate it because it was for me to taste; I don't remember clearly. However, I do remember he also told me to cover my body with honey, especially over my arms, chest, belly, face and hair, so he poured some honey on my hand (I think it was the left hand), because the hand was the most effective way to cover my body, according to him. I did cover.

The honey had chunks of honeycomb in it. The owner told me to eat the honeycomb chunks, so I grabbed a honeycomb chunk I had in the left side of my neck with my right hand, and ate it. Its taste was delicious.

 

References

Jung, C.G. Aion (Volume 9ii, Collected Works)

Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens, HarperCollins, 2015. 

May 02, 2019
Episode 56 - Persona
01:01:30

This episode, inspired by the new album by the Korean band BTS, explains and amplifies the Jungian concept of the persona. Like the cornea of the eye, persona both shields us and makes opening up to the world possible. In ancient Greek theater, the actors wore masks that identified their roles, or personae. Similarly, we adjust our outward presentation to others according to the appropriate roles we play in the workplace, with neighbors, or close friends and family. A persona that is too rigid can give one a center that is too determined by outside values and influences; a persona that is not solid enough can result in poor adaptation to the outer world or one that can be swept away by incursions from the unconscious. Altogether the persona is the social archetype and represents a compromise between adaption to social realities and individuality. 

 

The Dream:

My wife and I are in a kitchen, or someplace with wooden cabinets and soffits, and wooden counters. It might not be a kitchen.

There’s this large wooden head standing on the counter. It’s larger than a human head, elongated, and stylized like an Easter Island head but more handsome, no huge ears, and carved in more detail.

The head says things. Periodically, not like a conversation. I notice that the things it’s saying are very articulate, and it's very charming.

My wife is making something out of plastic. It’s a rigid container or sheath that fits the head exactly. We try to distract the head so that it doesn’t object, but he doesn’t notice as we lower him gently into the plastic casing. It just keeps talking, on and off. Finally, we screw the lid on top.

We can still hear a muffled talking. I worry if he can breathe.

Apr 25, 2019
Episode 55 - Identifying & Integrating the Personal Shadow
01:12:58

The personal shadow is created as a normal part of development, as we learn what behaviors, values and feelings are not acceptable in our family, school, or religious tradition. In order to be accepted by needed significant others, parts of ourselves have to be split off from consciousness and are therefore relegated to the unconscious as shadow. A major part of becoming more whole is discovering these exiled parts of ourselves and integrating the feelings they carry. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss some of the ways that shadow can be confronted and given a place at the table of consciousness.

 

The Dream:

I’m in my Dad’s wood shop, in the basement of the home where I grew up. I need to unscrew a panel on a metal box, and I’m finding the right screwdriver. The first one I pick up is too small, Mom hands me a better-sized one, a Phillips head with four fins. Somehow it is a very large size, and I notice the fins on the head are rusty. I sand away some of the rust on one of the fins, but when I come to the second, it is covered in masking tape. Instead of peeling off the tape, I try to sand away the masking tape, but the sandpaper continues to sand into the screwdriver fin itself, which is somehow made of corrugated cardboard. I am puzzled. I feel a pit in my stomach, like I’ve made a mistake. I find that only the first of the four fins is made of metal, the rest are cardboard. I “undo” (like you would on a computer) to get back to where I was after sanding the metal fin. The cardboard fins are intact again and I’m relieved. I then unscrew and open the panel of the box.

Apr 18, 2019
Episode 54 - Chronic Lateness
01:04:04

People who are chronically late create relational problems with others and generate negative consequences for themselves, from embarrassment and guilt to loss of friendships or jobs. Chronic lateness evidences a split between consciousness and the unconscious: while the ego may feel distressed about lateness, the unconscious may be expressing an unmet need and deriving a benefit from lateness. That is why self-help strategies such as setting multiple alarm clocks and allowing extra time for travel seldom solve the problem of chronic lateness or feel satisfying. Lisa, Joseph, and Deb discuss possible unconscious motivations for lateness, including its role as an inelegant effort at individuation.

The dream:

I begin the dream in a giant mall-like building. It stretches as far as I can see. There are no stores or other people. There are only dozens of escalators at different levels leading different places, much like a multi-story maze. I find the place exciting in its expanse. I next find myself leaving the building through an outdoor walkway which leads to a little cabin surrounded by plants, trees, and grass. There are 5 or 6 other people here, all of whom I consider friends. Suddenly, I'm aware I need to fetch something from the basement of the giant building. Problem is, I need a key. Everyone has a key, except I lost mine. There's an extra key in the cabin, but I'm told it's possessed and I shouldn't use it. However, whatever it is I need from the basement is tremendously important, so I decide to grab the key and go. I venture back to the building and make my way up and down many escalators, finally finding the basement. I don't remember anything about the basement, only that I find what I'm looking for. I'm excited as I make my way back to the cabin. However, once I reach it, my vision becomes entirely blue. Yellow words flash up on what looks like a blue screen, though I don't know what the writing says. This blue screen disappears quickly, and what's left is a purplish-grey screen with a black orb in the bottom right corner. I understand the orb to be an eye, which watches me intently. I wake up with my heart racing.

Apr 11, 2019
Episode 53 - Should I Stay or Should I Go?
01:04:42

One of the issues clients bring into the therapeutic consulting room is dissatisfaction with the state of their marriage or partnership. Although this dilemma often takes shape as bipolar, it represents a challenge to engagement with deep, defended parts of self and relationship. Joseph, Lisa and Deb make it clear they are not focusing on issues like abuse or addiction, but the more subtle yet substantial ways in which people can feel dissatisfied. Partners often hold deep aspects of the other’s shadow; for example, if one person has a fear of abandonment the other may have an equally strong fear of engulfment. They discuss stages of marriage / partnership, from romantic to parenting to empty nest, and the ongoing need for evolving relational awareness, especially in discerning the difference between individual complexes and relational problems.

 

The Dream:

I feel chunks missing from my molars on the bottom left, and spit it out into my hand, It’s three pieces of different teeth plus one full tooth. I look in the mirror and there is no tooth missing but the broken pieces match up. My mouth is like Gollum’s and my teeth in front are shifted right and are thin and pointed like vampire teeth.

Apr 04, 2019
Episode 52 - Precognitive Dreams
01:03:30

Listeners contributed examples of precognitive dreams for this episode. Lisa, Joseph, and Deb discuss theoretical concepts and listener dreams from various vantage points: the intuitive capacity of the unconscious, the synchronous intersection of matter and psyche, and activation of an archetype. These and other ways of knowing are beyond the scope of ego and call us to the realization that the ego, as Jung said, is a part of and connected to something larger that is ultimately mysterious. Jung compared this process to the plants called rhizomes. Their horizontal underground stems which put out lateral shoots and flowers that pop up, as into consciousness, at various intervals. Jung also likened precognition to weather forecasting, likely possibilities subject to a variety of manifestations.

Listeners’ Precognitive Dreams Discussed (not necessarily in order)

  1. I was at a Subway (sandwich shop) and I was buying a $5 Footlong (sandwich). When I was checking out the person at the register said my total was $11.20. I ended up not buying the sandwich and left the restaurant. That was the end of the dream. The very next day my friends and I were playing a game called “What do you Meme” and this was my first time ever playing the game. There are 250 pictures and 250 random captions and the point of the game is to give a picture a caption. I chose 5 caption cards at random and the very first card I chose was captioned: When your $5 Footlong Subway sandwich turns out to be $11.29. Mind you, there were 250 cards for me to choose from and that’s the very fist one I picked!
  2. Approximately 30 years ago I had a dream (that) haunts me to this day…I was 21 or so and my brother 19. He left for active duty in the army. For a week or so, I had very odd vivid dreams regarding him. The most prevailing theme of the dreams was death. The final dream of that time period was me opening my apartment door, the person knocking fell through my doorway, holding their face, writhing in pain, and having short dark hair. Moments later, more knocking began, I called through the closed door, requesting to know who it was…it was my brother trying to enter with a gun…I held the door closed…while looking over my shoulder at the individual squirming in pain on the floor, asking if he/she was OK. This dream occurred in March of that year. Later in that same year in August, we planned a trip out of town so I thought I would make contact with a friend in that area, to possibly meet at some point to catch up on things. I called her number, her husband answered…I asked to speak with MJ and he remained silent for a moment. He then stated MJ had died in March of a suicide. MJ had short dark hair, as the person did in my dream. A gun was involved in both her suicide as well as my dream. And the dream occurred in March, the month she killed herself.
  3. In the dreams I suddenly realize that I am about to give birth. I casually find an available place to lie down—a table, a couch, or a picnic blanket. I give birth quickly without any effort or pain, and two toddlers, a boy and a girl, run around the table, couch, or picnic blanket joyfully yelling, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”! I had twins, a boy and a girl. I had the first of these dreams before pregnancy was even confirmed, and did not know I was carrying twins until my 7th month; their sex was known only at birth.
  4. I am an Indigenous Australian woman. I was taken away from my birth mother at the age of 4 months. Fostered, then adopted by Scandinavian parents at 4 years old. I left home at 18 and pursued a career as a community advocate, married and have 2 children. The laws changed in Australia when I was 30 so that I was able to gain my original birth certificate and some small bits of information about my birth mother. The dream commenced my journey to find my birth family. I dreamt of 7 women in the desert, red earth country, in line next to each other with digging sticks. They were all singing a song in language I did not understand. They were digging in unison searching for yams. I was feeling so serene and full of joy. Then I dreamt of all these older men and women smiling and speaking to me in language I did not understand. They at the end of the dream conveyed a sense of urgency, a job I must do. Through my phone calls that day I found my birth mother and my eldest sister. My mum lives 2 streets from me. Since that day 27 years ago I have found all my family. I am at peace.
  5. I have had tons of precognitive dreams throughout my life, The past 5 years they have been happening more. The most recent two was after I had had my first pregnancy. I miscarried the baby at 12 weeks and was really torn up about it. My partner and I were separating and I was just overall confused with my entire life at that point and very suicidal. One night I had a dream of a little boy, maybe 8 or so, and he told me, “Wait until December.” Asked him why but he would just keep telling me to wait. That it was important and he promised everything would be okay. I had that dream in September. And it left me with such a feeling that I can’t describe. It was very powerful, so I waited for December. Nothing happened. By then I had somewhat healed from the miscarriage and was doing well living on my own. My partner and I were separated but still seeing each other but agreed a relationship wasn’t right at the moment. Fast forward to February and my period is late. So I take a pregnancy test and it comes up negative. I save it for whatever reason and continue on. A few weeks later I still don’t have my period, which isn’t out of the ordinary for me, but I feel weird. I look at the pregnancy test I took a few weeks prior and see the faintest second line. Of course I cried. I couldn’t believe it. When I went in to get my first ultrasound they told me I conceived sometime in December. It made me smile. I believe that is what the little boy was telling me to wait for. While I was pregnant I would have dreams of the same little boy. But as I got farther in my pregnancy he got younger in my dreams. I could see his face and I knew his name and everything. I knew I was having a boy but asked the ultrasound techs not to tell me because I wanted a gender reveal party. When I was 8 months pregnant we did the reveal and just like I had guessed, it was a boy! And when I finally gave birth, he had the same face of the little boy I always saw in my dreams. The same boy who told me to wait until December.

The Dream:

I was standing in front of a house - my house (although it did not resemble my actual house). It was the first time I had been round the front of the house, as usually, I would enter via the back door. I had run out of space in my back garden for more plants, and so I was excited to discover all this space at the front of the house, for planting. However, all of the available planting space was in the shade or under cover of some sort. There was a nice area right in front of the house, but it sloped downwards towards the house so it would be tricky to plant there. In addition, I thought that area was too close to the house to plant a tree, in case it interfered with the foundations. Just next to this sloping ground I noticed that at the point where the sunshine did actually reach the ground, some beautiful bluebells were growing.

Mar 28, 2019
Episode 51 - What is Your Therapist Thinking?
01:04:36

Lisa, Joseph, and Deb explore and explain what the analytic process is like for them as they work with clients. Deb describes her interactions with clients using a rectangular diagram that, like the Scottish flag, traces lines going from the two upper corners to the two lower corners. This represents the multi-directional flow of energy in the session between the conscious and unconscious contents of both people. The analytic process is also likened to a chemical reaction in which both people are changed - referencing alchemical images that Jung used, it’s compared to two people sitting in a bath together. These are all ways of illustrating that the process of analytic therapy is as important to the analyst as it is to the client.

The Dream: I was sitting on the steps of a big old brick building in a small town. It seemed like a quaint old fashioned town. The day was warm and sunny. I was upset about something and my therapist was standing in front of me. I can't remember what I was telling her, but as she stood in front of me, she kept removing her shirt and throwing it on the ground. She never picked it up and put it back on, she just had so many shirts on. Over and over, removing one shirt and tossing it aside.

Mar 21, 2019
Episode 50 - Shopping
01:02:42

Everyone shops—we have access to an astonishing choice of products. Internet shopping has multiplied our range of options beyond what nearby retail stores may have to offer. Desired items range from mountain climbing trucks to gold jewelry to highly specialized cookware items. What are we seeking for our inner selves as we shop for outer objects? For some, utilitarian objects carry libido, whereas for others shopping is an aesthetic, adventurous, relational, or aspirational experience. Joseph, Deb and Lisa explore the possible personal meanings of shopping.

 

The Dream:

Winter. I'm in a remote cabin with a group of young people. Cabin is old and empty, with holes in the walls, and freezing drafts going back and forth. I feel terribly out of place, unsure who are these young people, and why I'm here with them, in this god forsaken place. Under the floor we find a frozen body of an old man: white beard, white hair, calm face as if in deep contemplation. We don't know who he is.

Suddenly, a swarm of reptiles coming at us - strange snake-like chimeric creatures. Their attack is vicious. I have a clay tablet in my hands and I use it as a shield against them. Suddenly, the attack is over. I look at my clay tablet and I see that where the reptiles attacked there is a writing in the ancient language that I wish I'd understand but I don't. I want to leave but the young people are begging me to stay. I open the door and find myself face to face with an old and gorgeous winter forest. My heart aches with longing to walk into the forest, and I decide to stay.

Mar 14, 2019
Episode 49 - Dietary Over-regulation and the Pursuit of Purity
58:49

Preoccupation and obsession with food–a condition called orthorexia--can take the form of the quest for health and purity, with rigid rules about food categories, such as the need for all-organic ingredients or omitting food groups such as dairy, sugar, and gluten in the absence of identified physiological intolerances. This overall effort to banish anxiety can take the form of an implicit bargain (eating “right” guarantees health), a strong need for ego control, elitism, specific community values, and banishing shadow by projecting it onto “bad” foods. The person may be also be seeking connection with the archetypal, or religious realm that has become concretized around food.

The Dream:

I am in a large multilevel food court in a mall which is very empty. I'm carrying a tray of food and I'm looking for my mom who I know is somewhere in the food court and I want to sit and eat with her. As I walk through the food court I become distracted looking at the food stalls. One stall, in particular, catches my attention, through a window behind the service counter I see a bustling kitchen scene, many chefs cooking, lots of steam and smoke and fire leaping into the air. I want to eat the food from this stall. As I'm looking through the window at the kitchen, I realize the window is a TV screen and the kitchen scene is just a video. I awake.

Mar 07, 2019
Episode 48 - Estrangement
01:05:01

Estrangement from members of one’s family and others takes place far more often than seems commonly acknowledged. Estrangement involves psychologically cutting-off, repressing, and defending against connection with another who has come to be experienced as “all bad.” People may move away geographically, refuse to talk to a certain person, or simply give someone the “cold shoulder.” Joseph, Lisa and Deb discuss the importance of setting appropriate boundaries with others and understanding that estrangement is also an internal phenomenon.

The Dream:

I see a middle-aged man fixing a fence.  The dogs that are in the yard with him are behaved -- they are not trying to go through the big opening in the fence.  Then the man is inside a house fixing the trim on a wooden doorway. I "know" him -- and I ask, "Will you treat me?" There is a deep feeling of acceptance and he says, "We will start tomorrow." I go off to get ready for tomorrow.

Feb 28, 2019
Episode 47 - Falling in Love with your Analyst
01:06:05

As Jung well knew, eros – love – is an essential part of the analytic process. In Vol. 16 of his Collected Works Jung used alchemical images of a king and queen to illustrate the various ways in which erotic feeling can enter the consulting room. The safety of a time-limited, fee-based relationship is important to allow a full range of feelings and fantasies to be admitted into consciousness without being enacted. Idealizing and erotic feelings for another can pave the way to finding one’s center in oneself.

The Dream:

"I was some kid, with a family. The family left me out of some event, and then they went on a hot-air balloon trip without me. After returning, when I complain, the mother announces that I'm "ready" for it, and prepares to have intercourse with me. But just then, her upper body turns into a giant snake and moved to devour me. And that woke me up."

Link to the Rosarium Images

Feb 21, 2019
Episode 46 - Hiding
01:04:35

Many a fairy tale features hiding as a strategic defense.  Jack, of beanstalk fame, hides from the giant in order to survive and discover his treasure. We often hide when we feel small and life events and people feel big. Hiding can be a conscious decision, whether for fun, as in the game of hide and seek, or out of necessity, as Anne Frank’s family’s had to do. Hiding can also be an unconscious phenomenon, particularly if there has been trauma, in order to protect the inviolable life of the soul. How, then, does an individual come out of hiding to discover him- or herself?

 

The Dream:

I was on a mountain trip in a van driven by a man with dreadlocks. He was driving myself and some others high up on the mountainside. It was a beautiful and clear winter day. I suddenly had a feeling that we were going to crash. It was a very windy road and he was driving so fast that he couldn't make the hairpin turn. We flew off the road and into mid-air. Life was suddenly in slow motion and I thought I should try to call my boyfriend while we were flying through the air and tell him what was happening. I awoke before the van started to fall.

 

Books:

The Inner World of Trauma and The Soul and Trauma by Donald Kalsched, PhD. Available on Amazon.

Feb 14, 2019
Episode 45 - The Wall
49:49

With “The Wall” very much in the forefront of national discussion, Deb, Lisa and Joseph reflect on the archetype of walls. Some may be stonewalls simply marking boundaries between neighbors. Others may be massive defenses like the Great Wall of China. What do walls keep out – or keep in? What do we need to create necessary separation, and what walls off connection with our own shadow that may be projected onto immigrants. When we focus on building a wall, do we neglect our internal infrastructure, health care and education—and eventually shut down our government? This discussion explores parallels between external and internal walls.

The Dream:

I am in my parents’ home and preparing to sleep, when I feel scared and I see through window just shining eyes looking at me from dark. I come closer and open the terrace door and I see an old lady, and I start yelling at her and waving with my hands to make her go. I want to scream but I have no voice and then my partner wakes me up. I was lying in bed, feeling scared for couple of moments, more...

Feb 07, 2019
Episode 44 - The Archetypal Power of Football
01:09:51

Football is a uniquely American sport with millions of fans, heroic teams, and stadiums reminiscent of colosseums. As the Super Bowl approaches – television’s most watched show – Lisa, Joseph and Deb consider the archetypal underpinnings that contribute to making football America’s most watched sport. They consider the light and dark sides of fandom, the hero’s journey, the battleground, and more.

 

The Dream:

For some reason, I brought kitty litter to the bathroom -- it was not for a cat (since I don't have one anymore) but had some other purpose. Well, as soon as I put it down, my (former) cat, Smoky immediately ran into it. I was surprised to see her, since she's been gone (dead) for years. But she was right there and obviously needed to use the litter urgently. I had the impulse to pull her away, but held back, realizing that she needs to use the bathroom and it's really important not to disturb her in doing that. Then, as I was watching her in the litter box, I saw that she was wrestling with a mouse. As I watched the scene, I saw that both Smoky and the mouse were the same size (the size of a large mouse). Smoky seemed to be winning, but it was definitely a wrestle. They were raising up dust and moving very quickly, so it was hard to see what was happening, but I saw Smoky making cuts on the mouse's back/body, and even saw some blood. I had the sense of cheering her on.  

Jan 31, 2019
Episode 43 - Heartbreak
01:05:36

Heartbreak is more primal, more pervasive, and more related to one’s sense of self than sadness. Our hearts can break over the death of a dearly loved other, including a pet…and our hearts can break over the death of a relationship and the death of our hopes and dreams, and our innocence, idealizations, and the psychic needs we believe another can fulfill. Heartbreak is mythological and fairy tale theme, which illustrates its central place in the human psyche, and in them we find clues to how one heals from this devastating experience.

The Dream:

I am in a distant and unfamiliar town. I enter into a restaurant, but I don’t have any money. I peek into the kitchen and casually ask one of the employees to hand me a bowl. I go over to the other side of the restaurant and begin to get some soup from the pot and eat it. Then one of the employees comes over to me, he’s speaking Spanish and I can’t understand him, but he’s clearly asking me if I paid for it. I am not really acknowledging him directly and jokingly say: no hablā Ingles. I finish the soup and casually walk out, and know at this point that the employee will try and catch me. I hide in the forest, and wait for him to pass by, then begin to run in a different direction. I see the employee running around trying to search for me. Slowly, with the help of an unknown figure that’s with me, I make it back to my car, but am constantly scanning to see where the employee is. I start driving off, but I notice almost immediately that my car is not at full power, it’s revving high and not producing enough torque or speed but continue to drive anyway. The town is small but feels kind of like a maze, and struggle to find my way out of it. Eventually the road ends and turns into a dirt trail that has tall grass further down, but there is a path where the grass had been pressed down from barn animals having stepped on it. Had it been the higher grass, I don’t think my car would have had enough power to plow through it. My car is really struggling at this point, and barely moving forward. Then out of nowhere a baby deer who appears frightened begins to run closer and closer to me, almost as if to get underneath me sort of like baby elephants do with their mother when they need protection. It no longer feels like I’m driving, but rather riding a bicycle; as the deer gets closer and closer, I keep pedaling and know that it’s eventually going to get run over. The deer gets nicked and starts crying. I stop my bicycle and pick him up, and begin to coddle and pet and kiss him. I really try to comfort him, and apologize to him repeatedly. I can feel his little wet nose sniff me as I kiss him. The little deer is so vulnerable and can’t get enough of comforting him. It gives me a warm feeling to comfort and protect him.

Jan 24, 2019
Episode 42 - Over Apologizing
01:00:51

What is “I’m sorry” as a habitual response really about? There’s the preemptive apology that is offered to forestall possible criticism, the apology that evokes reassurance from others, the apology for falling short of perfection…and more. This episode explores developmental, interpersonal, and intrapsychic dynamics of various kinds of habitual apologizing. We’ll be sorry if it falls short of your expectations.

 

The Dream:

I'm at a holiday "work party" for the very exclusive private school where I work, but it's in a big, old, rather shabby hotel that reminds me of a firehouse where my family used to have annual holiday gatherings. I'm mingling among all of the people and (as is true in my conscious life) can't seem to find a group with which I feel completely comfortable or myself. I feel like a lonely misfit in disguise,  feigning conformity and pleasant attitude.  I go upstairs to where the bathroom is supposed to be, and it feels very far away from the party--the second floor is creepily empty and quiet, with several large, empty rooms. I don't remember actually going into a bathroom, but as I'm about to go back downstairs to the party, I see an infant boy teetering at the top of the staircase on the landing. He is far too small to be walking. I immediately pick him up to save him, and he looks up at me, clearly distressed, and begins speaking as a much older child would. I ask him where his mother is, and he says he doesn't know, and is crying.

 

I don't remember all of what he says, but he tells me that he is in kindergarten. I hold him to my chest and he begins to calm down, eventually falling asleep. I feel affection for him and give him a kiss on the cheek, but I'm alarmed and unsure of what we will do. I go downstairs to the bartender of this party and ask where this boy's mother might be. He says, "probably in the party upstairs."  No one at the work party seems to notice or care that I have this lost baby. I go back upstairs, and as before, there is no one there--just an open door exposing a room with these creepy, industrial looking blue closet doors (almost like storage spaces) underneath a fluorescent light. I feel a deep sense that this situation is not right, and a strong determination to get myself and the baby out of there. The dream ends with me standing on the landing, baby still pressed against me.  

Jan 17, 2019
Episode 41 - Regret
57:57
Along with a our guest podcast Brazilian Jungian analyst Leticia Capriotti, we explored the psychological underpinnings of regret. We considered that sometimes regret can arise as a result of self-betrayal.  We link it to the unlived life that can haunt us and demand our attention. At times, this unlived life may reach into the ancestral past, as we struggle with inter-generational patterns. We discuss how sometimes this can lead to new creative endeavors, but at other times, there may need to be a painful sacrifice of fantasy before regret can be transformed. To avoid bitterness, we must come to love our fate, which involves sanctifying the ordinary. 
 
We discussed the work of genogram expert Monica McGoldrick.
 
The Dream: 
 
It is the middle of the night & I am in the shadowy living area of what appears to be an English mansion house. The room is large and high ceilinged, but is dark & shadowy. My attention is focused on a dimly lit table, where I am standing and packing to depart. I am packing my final suitcase with books - a companion is bringing the books to me but who that person is is unclear (perhaps my young adult son). The books are hard covered and old, thick & weighty. I don't know the titles - but they are from a prolific 19th century English male author who I have never felt the need to read, yet I'm taking the care to pack these. I'm sorting the books & packing with haste. While I'm in charge of the packing, I worry about what I am doing. The books are so thick and heavy & take up so much space - will I even be able to carry the suitcase? Is it a mistake packing these...will I read them?...why take these, why now, at this time? I seem to finish sorting, although I leave everything in the shadowy room. I open the heavy door made of dark wood to peer into the shadowy entryway where my other small suitcases are standing. I peak out into the darkness, keeping my eye out for danger but also for the unknown person who will come to take us away.  
Jan 10, 2019
Episode 40 - What's Unique about Jungian Analysis?
59:42

How is Jungian analysis different from other psychotherapies? What are its major components and distinguishing features? And what makes it effective? Lisa, Deb, and Joseph discuss Jungian analysis as a nonlinear process that is not limited to problem-solving or reducing symptoms. Instead, Jungian analysis is grounded in an inherent capacity to grow into wholeness, a process Jung called individuation. Jungian analysis places a high value on all the processes and multiplicities of the unconscious, from symptoms to work with dreams, in order to facilitate the integration of denied or devalued aspects of the personality. The four particular stages of an analytic journey, which may overlap, are explained: catharsis, elucidation, education, and transformation—altogether an abiding fullness of being.

The Dream:

I’m in the front room of my home. It is a farmhouse with views from the room of rolling hills. I’m looking after my two young boys inside and the room is in chaos. An unexpected visitor enters the room, it is my friend who is a vicar. We have children a similar age and I think he has come for a playdate, but I realize he has turned up for a therapy session. He wants to discuss his addiction but I can’t focus as I need to look after the children. I also wonder how I have let this happen—he’s my friend and this is my home; I feel guilty I have let this happen.

Jan 03, 2019
Episode 39 - Shrink Rap Radio
01:17:32

This week we sat down with Dave from Shrink Rap Radio to discuss dream analysis. We hope you enjoy and happy holidays!

Dec 27, 2018
Episode 38 - Holiday Madness
55:27

As the holiday season approaches, we examine the tidal pull of the ancient, archetypal power of the solstice season. Because of this underpinning, together with the power of family narratives, roles, and complexes, the holidays can be fraught with intense feeling, from hope to regression to disappointment. We discuss ways to manage feelings, intention, and behavior.  

 

The Dream:

"I am in a bathhouse (Turkish bath) and sitting immersed in the pool of warm water to my waist. I am sitting with my back to a rectangle column made out of black granite. I have my arms are stretched like a crucifix and my hands are holding onto the column that is behind me. The pool is made out of green granite. To my left there is an altar made out of cubic-shaped granite and on which sits a woman who is a sage, a seer, a fortune-teller, or a magician. She is wearing a long dress and is sitting crossed legged.  My back is hot and dries the film of water on the column and as the column dries my back leaves marks on the column. The marks are magical symbols.  They resemble the Japanese Zen art that is done by a water-wet brush on a black rock and it fades as water dries. The woman comes and looks at them and she is flabbergasted. She has never seen magical marks such as these. 

In the bottom of the pool and in front of me there is a piece of green granite with a circular metal inlay and a ring attached to the circular metal. It resembles the remains of a counterweight that would have been used in opening the gates to castles. I look at it and with the power of my mere stare the rock floats up to the surface of the water and glides on the surface. Then the rock starts skipping on the surface of water 3 times and lands on the skirt of the woman who is back on the altar."   

 

Dec 20, 2018
Episode 37 - Narcissism
01:07:44

The myth of Narcissus constitutes the archetypal root of the character structure of narcissism. Aspects of narcissism run from the healthy developmental narcissism of a child to the toxic narcissism of the psychopath, but all have in common a lack of empathy, whether momentary or chronic. We offer some thoughts on how to tell if you are in a relationship with a narcissist and what to do about it.

The Dream:

My ex-wife moves back in together, and then she starts belittling (me) like she used to when we were together, which I don’t like. After she does it a few times, I determinedly tell her to move out, and then I remember that she moved into my house, not the other way around—I don’t have to allow her to stay.

Dec 13, 2018
Episode 36 - Adulting: Leaving the Parental Path
01:01:45

What does it mean to separate from one’s parents and parental complexes—the attitudes and values that have been deeply instilled since infancy? How do we discern when we are in a parental complex, whether we are aligned with it or rebelling against it? What can we do to resolve the hold these complexes can have over us and become more of our unique, individuated selves?

The Dream:

I was in front of a white house. I felt like it belonged to me. Some creatures attacked. I remember two of them, one was blue and the other one red. The red one was called Prometheus. I also had allies with me, but I paid no attention to them as they were behind me. It was a fierce fight. We fought with the creatures and after awhile the creatures fled, except Prometheus. I fought with him, and in the end I subdued him, grabbing him by the head and speaking some kind of banishment to him. He collapsed. After the battle I withdrew to the house to rest. As I was catching my breath, I turned around and see Prometheus, now transformed into a lion with a fiery mane and glowing eyes. I roared like a lion trying to protect its territory and he roared back. We stood there for awhile and then he comes closer and tells me: “Don’t you see you’re everything to me?”

Kwame Scruggs’ work with young men can be accessed through:

alchemyinc.net/g-kwame-scruggs-ph-d/

Dec 06, 2018
Episode 35 - Loneliness
01:14:13

Loneliness is a deeply human and universal experience. Lisa, Joseph and Deb examine it from multiple perspectives: as it may be experienced in young adulthood versus older years; as reflective of the need for attachment and relational security; as comparable to the alchemical metaphors of calcinatio and solutio; as a call to activation in outer and inner worlds; and as a psychologically toxic phenomenon.

The dream:

I dreamt I was haphazardly packing up my family’s things after a stay at a friend’s house. In the bathroom I find I have my period and have bled through all my cloth pads. My underwear in soaked and bright red. I am overwhelmed by the color and amount of blood. Could I use their washing machine, I wonder? After some thought I decide to make a pad with toilet paper. Then I head upstairs looking for my husband and kids.

Going up I remember that we considered buying this house once but decided it was too big and needed too much work. It’s beautiful now. I go upstairs to the attic. There are deep rich rugs and walls in browns and reds, quiet tables and chairs. It feels good. High ceilings, 30 feet, but the space is still warm and encompassing. My family is here. I see the kids' bunk bed to the left. In front of me is a huge window with a view of an enormous maple tree in full red color. It is astonishing, such beauty, leaves rustling. Talking with my husband I recall how when we last saw this place it was derelict, holes in the roof, floor boards missing, pipes exposed. A real mess. The transformation is incredible. I think of the work and expense it was to bring those windows up! I love this place.

To the left there is another huge window split in three sections and shows a long view across plains to distant mountains. We are shockingly high. The view is beautiful but suddenly I fee dizzy. I am afraid of heights and need to sit down. My son is fooling around near the windows. I tell myself he’s fine but I am still afraid. Are the windows sound? I tell myself he’ll be fine, my husband is with him, but can’t tolerate the feeling. I head for the stairs down.

 

Nov 29, 2018
Episode 34 - The Scapegoat
01:13:21

The archetype of the scapegoat goes back to the ancient Hebrew ritual of using two goats to expiate the sins of the tribe. Sin, blame, and wrongness are also often attributed to others, and this practice – scapegoating – is addressed as it occurs in current culture, in families, and in individual psychology.

The Dream:

I hiked to a “primitive” tribal village. I went there as a researcher, perhaps an anthropologist. As I was standing talking to one of the men, an angry woman with a crying infant stomped toward our area and plunged her infant (backside first) into a plastic basin of water as if to drown her. Bubbles came from the infant’s mouth while under water. I started to run over there to rescue the baby, but the man (or something) held me back. The woman pulled the baby out of the water, looked at her face briefly, and then plunged her back into the water – this time face down. At this, I immediately ran to the baby and pulled her out of the water. I held her face down and pounded on her back in an attempt to get the water out of her lungs. While I was watching/doing all of this, I was aware that I wanted to save the child, not because I cared about her, or because I cared about children in general, but because I knew what it felt like to drown. Water came out of the infant’s mouth, she coughed a lot, and then seemed okay. She was able to breathe. The angry mother had stood there watching me. She was now calm. She wanted her baby back, and although I felt apprehensive about returning the child, I did. The woman and child seemed fine. I wanted to have the child removed from the abusive, dangerous environment, but the mother reassured me everything was fine. I had to leave. The mother was smiling as she cradled her baby; she seemed genuinely happy/content, but I still worried a bit about the infant.  

PAJA (Philadelphia Association of Jungian Analysts)

Nov 22, 2018
Episode 33 - Archetypal Dynamics of Gender Transformation
01:15:59

Lisa, Joseph, and Deb circumambulate the difficult issue of gender reassignment. They discuss the significance of teen girls wishing to transition and the current tendency to foreclose the meaning of this and move rapidly into medical procedures, a process of concretization instead of curiosity and exploration. Lisa discusses previous examples of symptoms and their diagnoses in history, leading to an understanding of the influence of cultural factors on mental illnesses and diagnosis. Finally, gender reassignment is considered as a Promethean venture, and although it is now possible to challenge the gods of genetics, it is also truly awe-full. We suggest that gender transitioning, like much else, can be psychologically transformative only if there is a conscious relationship to it.

Lisa's writings on the topic include three articles in Quillette:

Misunderstanding a New Kind of Gender Dysphoria

Transgenderism and the Social Construction of Diagnosis

Trans Activism's Dangerous Myth of Parental Rejection

This article in the Jungian journal Psychological Perspectives:

Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics

And a chapter in this book, which also includes a chapter from UK Jungian analyst Bob Withers:

Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body

 

 

The dream:

I am lying in bed with a man I do not know and we are both naked. We are covered by a thin blanket. The man's right hand man comes in the room to discuss something with him. The man in bed with me gets up and does not clothe himself but nonchalantly takes off his penis and hands it to me. It is not bloody or gory and he seems to know that he can put it back on; I am just holding it for him. I'm not sure what to do so I take it under the blanket and lay it on my lower abdomen. The man tells his partner, as he points at me, that he should take a picture for his Dad because they see the outline of the penis under the blanket.

Nov 15, 2018
Episode 32 - Slobs
01:07:27

What happens when one is held captive by the mud of messiness? We try to understand sloppiness as a defense against overwhelming emotions, ongoing enmeshment in the primal maternal matrix, a regression to a younger and less differentiated self, and a tendency to overvalue objects as compensation for an inadequate ability to symbolize.
 
The dream:

I am swimming in an indoor public pool with others when waves begin to occur for no apparent or antecedent reason. I am in a pool that shouldn’t have waves. As the waves begin to bob me around, the water level rises dramatically, quickly. The water reaches nearly to the top of a cinderblock retaining wall that is protecting a sunny, sacred green forest glade with a shrine far down below. Another person I don’t recognize, also male about my age begins to chip away at the retaining wall, cracking, crumbling it until it gives way. Darkness rushes in violently, and I awake to see myself in the third person floating in dank, dark blue, murky water that is endless in form and size. A graphic overlay of five hearts (much like a Zelda video game’s heart display) is shown on top of me as I float, alive but ultimately devoured by the flood.

Nov 08, 2018
Episode 31 - Food Addiction
01:09:11

Compulsive eating is a complicated psychological and biological problem. Food addiction can be a way of defending against unmet needs by displacing emotional hunger onto food. We discuss how infant experiences with eating and soothing can shape one’s relationship to food in adulthood. Two fairy tales tell of parents with insatiably devouring babies and illustrate the consequences of failure to develop affect regulation and how that can lead to various vulnerabilities to addiction.
 
The dream:

My skin (not sure what body part) had green mold on it, like the intense green mold that grows on an orange. When I try to peel it off, I discover it is about a centimeter thick and that it comes away in spongy chunks leaving a very uneven skin surface—once again, like the contrast between peel, pith, and segments of an orange. I feel alarmed. I stop peeling worrying the whole structure will collapse.
 
 

Nov 01, 2018
Episode 30 - Escaping Literalism
01:01:33

We consider literalism as a normal state in childhood; children’s literalism can be funny and charming. We grow first into the ability to understand metaphor and conceptualize symbols and levels of meaning. Literalism can then serve as a defense against uncertainty, as ego’s resistance to any threat to its power, and as a refusal to  confront unwelcome truths from the unconscious. A symbolic attitude, however, opens the inner world to adventure, mystery and creativity.

 

The dream:

I had a wild animal skin. At first, I thought it was a zebra skin but then I realized it something more rare and dangerous, the skin of a white tiger. I knew it was wrong and illegal to have it but I loved it and it felt so warm, comfortable, and safe to be inside of it.

 

Oct 25, 2018
Episode 29 - ENVY & JEALOUSY: Hobgoblins in Relationships
01:03:35

This podcast relates envy and jealousy to early developmental dynamics, with envy related to the dyad of mother-and-baby and jealousy arriving a bit later, when the child realizes that sometimes he is left out of his parent’s relationship with one another. Envy is related to early narcissism, a sense of inferiority and primal emotions, often resulting in the urge to destroy the envied person or object. Jealousy, because it is related to longing, can motivate a person to strive for what is desired. Rumi, a Persian poet, wrote about existential and universal aspects of longing for the divine, and how, inherent in the longing, lies connection.

 

The dream:

I was in a house, standing in the kitchen, an attractive and intimate young couple exits one of the rooms, there greet me and leave. The male is playful, the female is glowing they are happy. Beside me on the table is a red book, I felt as though I had written part of it. The number '22' and 'Libra' stand out. I look towards the front door, my ex fianceé walks in, she approaches me and walks right past into a dark room as I point to the book. She did not stop, make eye contact or acknowledge my presence. Her eyes had lost all sharpness, swollen, glazed over and zombie like, powerless and filled with vile, I sensed only a flickering of life within her. Surprised that I was not startled. I waited in the kitchen with fear that she may emerge from the dark room and abuse me for having 'rearranged' her things.

 

Oct 18, 2018
Episode 28 - Boredom
55:07

Boredom is not depression or dissociation, sadness or loneliness…but what is it? We consider boredom from various perspectives: lack of access to one’s inner world, a relational deficit, a defense against unwanted feelings, a byproduct of reliance on technology to command attention, and lack of access to enlivening transpersonal energies. We surmise that the antidote to boredom lies in the ability to pay attention, as this can generate connection and meaning.

 

The dream:

I had a rather strange dream the other night where I was on a bridge. A very long bridge and on this bridge were statues of people. They were all in different positions but seemed like they were marching but frozen in place. When I intensely looked at one of them it started to move and break open free. I think I did the same thing to other statues and they moved. The next part of the dream I was at the beginning of the bridge and I saw that tall giant woman. It was an uncle’s wife, she is a doctor, very beautiful, and she looked like a queen or had that feeling of wearing a crown. Very regal. And she talked down to me giving me advice that I can’t remember. The next part of the dream she was wearing alluring black top and shorts.

 

Oct 11, 2018
Episode 27 - Dream Animals
01:09:09

In this podcast, we focus on animals as symbols of instincts that have often been repressed in order to conform to cultural norms. When some aspect of our instinctual nature returns to us as a dream animal we can find ourselves fleeing, fighting, denying, or befriending an aspect of ourselves represented by that animal. Because animals have objectively known characteristics, dream creatures can provide specific clues about lost aspects of ourselves that we may need to reclaim. Finding the right relationship to our inner animals can contribute to our wholeness.

 

The dream:

I am in the kitchen in our house (the house is huge with very big kitchen and back door leading from the kitchen to what it seems like a farm yard) and trying to prepare some food. My father (who is not living with us in my dream and is separated from my mother) bursts in the kitchen. He is drunk and looking for food to eat. His dog is following him. The dog is very beautiful German Shepherd like, the long hair type variety and completely beige/blond in color. I love the dog very, very much. My father isn’t in a good mood. He starts digging in the fridge for food and complaining that there isn’t anything to eat. He starts pushing things and shouting that there isn’t even any fruit to eat. I am trying to calm him down and give him some of my fruit I bought for breakfast. He is getting more demanding and greedy insisting I give him more and more. I am getting upset, as I am not going to have any fruit left for my breakfast. On the following day the whole scene in the kitchen repeats again. I am giving my father cherries and he keeps asking for more until he gets all my cherries. When I run out of cherries (which I really love and wanted to enjoy eating, so I am very upset he took them all from me) he starts demanding I give him all my blueberries too. I give him some, but he keeps insisting for more and he is getting very greedy. His hands are full and he can’t hold any more blueberries, but he keeps asking for more. The blueberries are starting to roll off his hand and fall on the floor. I am growing more upset and angry at him. I am trying to get him to stop demanding more and go away. The feeling that I hate him and my anger and feeling of disgust towards him are growing inside of me and I am about to burst out shouting and who knows what else. I am already half shouting at him to stop being so greedy. At this moment the dog starts to half bark, half cry very loudly and I know this means my mum is coming back home. My father’s dog adores my mother and always reacts like that when she is around. In the next moment my mum enters the kitchen through the back door and the dog runs to her for big hug and pet. My mum adores the dog too. We all do. He is such a beautiful and cuddly thing and I couldn’t understand why it is with my dad. I always wished the dog stayed with us when they split. We all felt like we lost a sibling…I almost felt like I don’t want to see my drunk, horrible and greedy father, but I don’t want to lose his dog and in order to see the dog I have to put up with my father’s greed and bad behavior (Strange)…. I wake up

 

We referenced The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Symbols, ARAS (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism), Taschen publishers, 2010.

 

Oct 04, 2018
Episode 26 - Betrayal
01:07:12

The experience of betrayal is painful, confusing, and damaging to one’s basic sense of self and reality. The betrayer is often seized by feelings that demand gratification and involve self-deceit, abandonment of responsibility and empathy for the other. Are there ever times when betrayal is necessary for growth, either as the betrayed or the betrayer? Can betrayal be used as a call to deepened feeling, increased consciousness and more creative self-expression?

The Dream:

I was in a house that belonged to my parents, but it wasn't a house my parents have ever actually lived in. My boyfriend and I were fooling around in the bathtub. I was enjoying myself but he warned me that we were making a mess. I turned around and saw that we had somehow flooded the bathroom with several inches of water. I started to panic about how angry my parents were going to be.
There was a radio on the floor that was an actual radio that my dad owned when I was a child. I was afraid to step out of the tub and into the water because I thought I'd be electrocuted. I was able to lean out and unplug the radio, and music that I hadn't realized was playing stopped. I jumped out of the tub to grab a bucket to try to deal with the water, but by then most of it had drained away. I was trying to scoop up what was left and dump it down the drain. My boyfriend wasn't helping and I was getting mad at him. He seemed to think it wasn't any big deal because the water was almost gone. I told him that the water had obviously drained into other parts of the house, causing damage, and that my parents were still going to be angry.

Sep 27, 2018
Episode 25 - The Psychology of Divination: a depth approach
56:15

Divinatory systems have been used for thousands of years as a source of help and direction to people wishing to resolve situations of personal uncertainty. Jung used the I Ching for 30 years before he met Richard Wilhelm and found confirmation of its usefulness in Wilhelm’s translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower. We explore the value of divination through the I Ching and the Tarot, and link this to the concept of a unified field that can facilitate a healing relationship with the Self.

The dream:

"I’m sitting on a concrete ledge. A few feet below is mud. A loved, beaded bracelet slips off into the mud and begins to sink. I know I cannot reach it. The feeling of anger and frustration toward myself and the situation distracts me for so long that when I regain clarity I realize it’s late, and I am far from home. I also become aware of a family of brown bears below, a mother and two cubs, father some distance away. The need to get away from the bears and find a safe place to sleep takes over. I look behind me into a beautiful, green grassy space and see a metal fenced off area about the size of a basketball court. A cage with no roof! I run to it for safety, whilst the bears meander calmly in the distance. Although they appear peaceful, I know that if parents’ protective instincts kick in then I’m in danger. I find the gate to the cage and let myself in, questioning if bears can climb the fence. I’m terrified they’ll see and hear me, so resist the urge to move fast. I quietly, slowly slide the lock on the gate across. Feeling safe and relieved, I look around for somewhere to lie down. It’s all very muddy, which surprisingly doesn’t faze me. I find a spot and lie down, settling into the soft mud, although when I roll over I see that I have lain down next to huge, twelve-foot-tall gorilla, which I initially think is a bear who is asleep but rolling over and toward me, about to land on me! My final thought before waking is if that rolls onto me I will never get away. How did I not notice it was there?"

In selecting the topic for this podcast, we are pleased to acknowledge and, we hope fulfill, the request of a listener, Colin P.

 

Here's a link for The Matrix and Meaning of Character`

And here's a link for the I Ching app.

Sep 20, 2018
Episode 24 - Motherhood as a Journey of Individuation
54:37

The experience of motherhood evokes powerful feelings, ranging from joy and bonding to anger and rejection. If we can develop a conscious relationship with these feelings, we meet both denied aspects of ourselves—our shadows—and experience the pleasures and enrichment of mothering that serve the individuation process. 

You can learn more about Lisa's work on motherhood here. 

The Dream:

I was visiting the home of a friend who doesn’t exist in the real world. She lives with her mother in a house near woods in another state. She’s very talkative and a good friend but is ill and can’t work. We hung around the house and laughed and talked, can’t recall what about—shared history, I guess. I was sure this was not my first visit and we’ve known each other a long time. To stress again, the person in the dream is nobody I’ve ever met in real life. We connected well but I had to go. I wanted to call her but didn’t have a phone number. She said she would email me. I woke with a sense of confusion that my friend didn’t actually exist.

Sep 13, 2018
Episode 23 - Indecision
49:33

Many people have difficulty making decisions, whether large or small. Among other factors, the psychology behind the fear of making a decision can be related to fear of making a mistake, lack of motivation, suppressed anger and aggression, and difficulty accepting the limitations and ordinariness of adulthood.

The Dream:

Last night I had what felt like an important dream. I was in a big new house. In one room I was just waking up with the cousin who is closest to me. The room was dark and filled with shadows. The other room was filled with light and I saw a woman waiting for me to wake up. We had both gone to the kitchen and as she got closer she was a girl I had a crush on in high school in very much detail. In high school I was always afraid to come talk to her—now she was coming to me. She was wearing my boxers and tank top and saw me and went right to the fridge and pulled out some tea. One of her friends was there too, whom I knew but didn’t know too well. We were all talking and having fun but with me and her, we kept looking at each other, drinking tea and coffee. I had the sense that something great is coming into my life.

Sep 06, 2018
Episode 22 - Pressure to Conform and Differentiation
52:59

The pressure to conform to familial and cultural values provides guidelines for each new generation – and can also stifle the uniqueness necessary not only to the individual but to family and cultural health. How can we discern when differentiation from established norms is in the service of meaningful growth and soul versus avoidance of necessary developmental challenge? This podcast engages this issue as both interpersonal and intrapsychic conflict.

The dream:

A recurring dream I have had for years. I am in someone else’s house and unable to find my way to my bedroom to sleep. I open doors and wander corridors. There are other people around. Sometimes I find my room to find other people in my bed. Sometimes the house is a holiday cottage or a university hall of residence, or a hotel or a huge rambling house. I never find a place to sleep.

At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging (Zurich Lecture Series in Analytical Psychology) by John Hill 

Link: http://a.co/gTkuyoP

Aug 30, 2018
Episode 21 -- Living with a Crazy Parent
55:06

Living with a parent who is seriously impaired can be traumatic and have lasting consequences. Fortunately, resources for healing and resilience are also available, and premature encounters with shadow can be a call to consciousness and yield gifts of effective and creative depth.

The dream:

My band mate and I are in an underground burial chamber which is dimly lit by torches. At some point we come across a large tomb/coffin. The coffin was black and was decorated with golden “stick figure” men with very large, erect penises. They looked a lot like prehistoric cave drawings of people. There was a smaller coffin inserted into the top of the larger, which could be removed and slid back. My band mate removes the smaller coffin and opens the lid; inside is the rotting, decaying body of an infant girl. It’s at this point in the dream I remember feeling particularly unsettled. At that point both of us knew we were supposed to be the two-wheeling this coffin out of wherever we were. We were supposed to be the funerary procession.

https://www.donaldkalsched.com/publications

1996, The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit ... Routledge, NY.

Aug 23, 2018
Episode 20 -- Mother-in-Law
55:49

The mother-in-law is not only the subject of many a joke but the subject of fairy tale and myth. Conflict between the older and younger woman lies in the archetypal realm, as both struggle to come to terms with differences, age, and the power of both youth and age.

The Dream:

Somehow my baby’s right arm has come completely out of her socket and is completely detached. I try to put it back into her socket, hoping for a miracle (which doesn’t happen) so I put her back into her cot. Later, I look for her, thinking I need to feed her but cannot find her. I search high and low, still there’s no baby. By chance, I find her in another room, it was like she was deliberately moved there. Her skin is very cold but she is alive. Her arm is still detached. I’ll have to take her to the doctor’s, I think, and get her arm sewn on, if that’s even possible. I wake up.

Aug 16, 2018
Episode 19 -- Sin and Transgression
37:12

In archery, sin refers to missing the mark, whereas transgression involves violation of a cultural boundary. But missing the mark or crossing a line can have positive effects as well as negative consequences.

The dream:

I am outside, in the yard of an old, but well-maintained house. The house is off-white, but I couldn’t say if it was gray off-white or beige off-white. There are other people here but I don’t pay them much attention because I am looking at my left hand. It has been injured—the skin across my knuckles has been torn and crudely stitched up. The skin is buckled between stitches and several are infected. I think to myself, no wonder things are a mess!

Aug 09, 2018
Episode 18 -- Creative Depression
38:57

Creative depression demands that we suffer a journey into the deep wells of the psyche in quest of new life. It differs from other kinds of depression in how it is imaged in dreams, its antecedents in the person’s life history, and in relationships.

The Dream:

I was gardening and all my seeds were failing. The plants they were producing looked old and withered as they broke the soil. I went to a water barrel to irrigate the sad plot and instead of water, there was a red liquid in the barrel. Not sure if wine, blood…it didn’t seem significant. I siphoned some down a hose to the garden and what looked like snow started falling and covering the garden. Then in a back corner of the garden, I saw movement…when I approached the spot, I saw a person stand up from under the soil. As if he had a gown like a plant. I don’t know who it was in waking life, but in the dream, he seemed familiar. I remember being more intrigued than bewildered by the person. Then I woke.

Aug 02, 2018
Episode 17 -- Lying
45:51

Lying, hiding and sneaking are examples of trickster behavior, discussed as they occur in political and personal spheres. When is this behavior in service to individuation, and when is it in service to regressive, or unconscious, aspects of the psyche? 

The dream:

I had a dream a couple of days ago where I was cut in half by a shaman. The setting of this dream occurred in my backyard. The shaman was Aztec it seemed. At the same time I was a shaman too, who was willing to be sacrificed by this shaman. He cut me in half with a ceremony knife and as he cut snakes came out of my body. An extension of this dream was of a snake crawling up my spine to talk to me. I don’t remember what it said.

 

Jul 26, 2018
Episode 16 -- The Archetype of the Gun
41:42

As three analysts, we explore the archetype of “the gun” from a Jungian psychological view and seek to understand it’s influence in the collective psyche of Americans. Guns play a big role in American mythology from the American Revolution to cowboys and first-person shooter games. Guns are symbols of heroic power—but mythology also sounds a cautionary note about what can happen when humans arrogate super-human power to themselves.



The dream: 

When I was a child, around ages 7 to 8, I would dream that my bedroom was covered in lizards. I’d wake up and jump to the floor, run to my parents’ bed, and climb in between them. Sweating, I’d look up to see the eye of a red dragon. Suddenly I was in an old-time saloon and the dragon would just be staring at me. That ‘s all there was to it, but it was repetitive.

Jul 19, 2018
Episode 15 -- Toxic Masculinity
38:43

How can we understand the superficial label assigned to masculine behavior in today’s meme-driven style of discourse?

The Dream:

I am walking on what seems to be mountainous hills. A little ahead of me is what feels like my teenage daughter and a friend. It’s kind of like twilight. Then I see a giant size footprint on the hillside. Huge, like a natural wonder-of-the-world type of site. I point at it like the way one does when one sees something pretty or interesting on holidays. Then I take a photo.

Jul 12, 2018
Episode 14 -- Dreams
40:27
Jung was one of the primary theorists who added to our understanding of the psychological significance of dreams, and working with dreams is often a central part of an analytic process. What is the Jungian understanding of why we dream? What does it mean if we don't dream, and what are some ways of learning to work with dreams? We discuss things one can do to help with dream recall, and ponder whether we dream all day long, even when awake. We also talk about the nature of symbols in dreams and dream series. 
 
The dream:
 
I ran into a male friend who I have not seen for a few years in the lobby of a ridiculously high-end hotel. I was wearing only a towel. He asked me to join him in his room, which was called “the mermaid aquarium,” along with a female friend of his who was already in the room. Somewhere along the line in the hotel lobby he bought me orange-scented perfume. I found his room. I just remember entering the room and seeing two nude women lying on the bed wearing exotic jewelry.
Jul 05, 2018
Episode 13 -- Active Imagination
38:52
Jung pioneered the technique of active imagination, a process by which the ego engages with imagery and content generated by the unconscious. Active imagination can help us understand our dreams, and lead us into new psychic situations. On today's episode, we share some personal examples of active imagination, discuss some suggestions of how to engage in it, and explore what active imagination has to do with snorkeling. 
 
The dream:

I am about to light four candles on the dining room table, each in its separate candlestick. They are ivory-colored tapers and are about two-thirds consumed already. Two of the burned wicks are quite short and two are long, curling at the top. I am arrested by this fact as it seems significant and I’m somewhat afraid of getting it wrong somehow.

Jun 28, 2018
Episode 12 -- Anxiety
37:01

“We don't so much solve our problems as we outgrow them. We add capacities and experiences that eventually make us bigger than the problems.”

CG Jung

 

Anxiety is one of the most common complaints that bring people into therapy. While it can be difficult to differentiate anxiety from healthy fear we all agree that finding an ally to stand with us makes a big difference. We explore the many underlying dynamics that can manifest outwardly as anxiety and consider the value in taking a heroic stance as we face our inner dragons. Inspired by Jung, we can come to appreciate that working with our anxieties rather than running from them gets the best results.

 

The dream:

“I’ve had Repeated dreams for many years about human feces in different forms.”

 

 

Jun 21, 2018
Episode 11 -- Fairy Tales
37:59
Why do Jungians care about fairy tales? What is their relevance in analysis? How do they differ from myths, and why do they matter to us still? Find out what fairy tales have mattered most to our clients, and why Lisa gets cranky when people criticize fairy tales for being sexist.
 
The dream:

I dreamt of a big cockroach. It was standing like a human and it was going to be transformed. 

Book mentioned:

The Book of Symbols

Jun 14, 2018
Episode 10 -- Synchronicity
31:24

Synchronicity is one of Jung's most intriguing ideas -- and one of the most difficult to understand. Jung coined the term to refer to coincidences that feel charged with emotion and meaning. How did Jung come to speculate on the nature of such events, and what role did theoretical physics play in shaping this theory? How can you be sure a coincidence is, in fact, meaningful? We each share an example of a synchronicity from our own experience.

Here's the dream we analyze:

"My son jumped into the sea in a dockyard against my wishes and didn’t resurface."

Jun 07, 2018
Episode 9 -- Vampires
29:34
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, True Blood. Vampires are perennial stars in popular entertainment. How can we understand vampires psychologically, and what does their tremendous popularity tell us about our culture? This week, we look at the transformation of the vampire archetype, explore how vampires live in all of us psychologically, and trace the return of the feeling function in modern vampire images. 
 
The dream:

This is a repeating dream. I am still at school but have reached well into middle age. I am unwilling to stay there, unwilling to study or sit for any exams as I have already qualified as a nurse. I wish to go and secure a job.

May 31, 2018
Episode 8 -- Choosing a Life Partner
39:26
Sex? Money? Passion? Intellectual companionship? Kids? What are factors to consider when choosing a life partner? Should you be practical, or follow your heart? How is this decision different for men versus for women? We offer some ideas.
 
The dream:

I was in my parents’ house. My mother was showing me some renovations she had done in the bathroom. Suddenly, in the mirror, I saw myself behind me charging toward me. I turned around in terror, but there was nobody there. I turned back to the mirror and saw myself again, looking pretty demented, charging toward me. Again I turned around, but there was nobody there.

May 24, 2018
Episode 7 -- Hearing Voices
36:18

The standard psychiatric understanding of auditory hallucinations is that they are a symptom of serious mental illness, and ought to be treated with antipsychotic medication, but could there other ways of understanding this phenomenon? Can such symptoms ever have meaning in their own right? We explore whether voices could sometimes be the psyche's attempt to heal itself. In the show, we mention the Hearing Voices Network.

The Dream: 

I was walking along on a frozen lake near the shore. Suddenly the ice under my feet gave way and I felt myself falling through. My boots were immediately soaked, pulling me under. My coat quickly became too heavy. As my head slipped below the surface, I saw my mother walking some distance from me. She didn’t see me; nobody did. I didn’t make a sound. I only had time to think: this is my death, and nobody will see me. I was going down very quickly, with no time to even struggle. About 1.5 meters below the surface, I had a final quick thought; maybe I’m dreaming. Then I woke up.

May 17, 2018
Episode 6 -- Alcoholism
35:24

Is alcohol dependence a misplaced expression of a spiritual thirst, or a collapse into a regressed and infantile state? We discuss Jung's involvement in the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Jung's letter to Bill W.

The Dream:

I’m accused of something I’m guilty of: loving the pharaoh’s daughter as she was my own. There are pictures and notebooks on my bag that prove it. So I’m dismissed from my post as guard. I end of on the floor; they paint my face black. The pharaoh and the other guard go through my stuff. On several occasions, they are about to find the proof that I’m guilty, but there are a lot of other notebooks and books in my bag, so they don’t find the incriminating ones.

May 10, 2018
Episode 5 -- Shame
33:11

What’s the difference between shaming, being ashamed, and being shamed? Which of these is most alive in the culture right now? Why do we feel existential shame, and how can it be healed?

The Dream:

I was on one side of the Grand Canyon with my graduate school classmates and it was daylight. We all had on our caps and gowns. There was a thin land bridge reaching over to the other side where there stood significant others, homes, and other symbols of a great future. My classmates were running across smiling and throwing their caps up into the air. I let them all go because I wanted some space to run by myself. It started to get dark and I didn’t see anyone I knew on the other side for me. The land bridge turned into a rope ladder with dowels that was strung horizontally across. I had to crawl across in the dark by myself.

May 03, 2018
Episode 4 -- Emotional Affairs
46:56

We take a look at emotional affairs and imaginal affairs. Both are more common than you might think and can lead us into an experience of our own depths.

The Dream:

I was with my eldest child and my husband. We were in my old hometown. I suddenly felt an urge to visit an ex-boyfriend. I knew he was unwell even though I hadn’t spoken to him for many years—call it a sixth sense. I said to my husband and child, “We must go to his house as all is not well.” We got there and entered the house via the back door. My ex-boyfriend was sitting on his sofa, dressed in women’s clothes. He was dead.

Apr 19, 2018
Episode 3 -- The Shape of Water
38:54

The Shape of Water recently won the Academy Award for best film, captivating audiences with its dream-like images of an other-worldly love. What can a psychological perspective contribute to understanding this film?

The Dream:

I was in a large, dark room. About twenty feet away was a door opening toward me with very bright light. A tall man with dark hair was looking at me. The dream happened again the next night. Same room, I was five feet away, still bright light and the man was opening the door about one-third of the way as if he was curious why I was there.

Apr 19, 2018
Episode 2 -- Hookups
35:51

Are hookups a joyous celebration of unbridled sexual expression? A defense against intimacy? All of the above?

The Dream:

I am at a family reunion. I see two women on the sofa at each end. They are identical twins. I am shocked. I did not realize we had twins in the family. I see a young child sitting on the floor between the twins. The little girl gets up and is trying to walk. She falls back and hits her head. I try to run and catch her but I do not make it in time. I am upset.

Apr 19, 2018
Episode 1 -- Shithole
35:39

We discuss the symbolic meaning of shit, and shithole, and wonder about shadow projection.  What does Trump’s use of this term have to tell us about his psyche – and ours? 

The Dream: 

I was in a flooded house. The house had two living rooms. Both were flooded. In one room was a television set with empty birdcages. The water short-circuited the television set and afterward, the birdcages came alive with birds, including a dead bird my mom once had. Also, a cat that ran away was on my lap. In the other room were two other birdcages, one with a stick standing straight up and a baby crow in the other. When I opened the cage with the stick the crow flew away and an open vista with a straight road opened up in front of me.

Apr 18, 2018