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Episode 095- TRIGGERED: Understanding & Transforming Complexes

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 01/23/2020

Episode 225 - Archetype of the Wave: image of energy and motion show art Episode 225 - Archetype of the Wave: image of energy and motion

This Jungian Life

Images of earth’s perpetual restlessness waves gently rock us, lift us up for an exhilarating ride – or inundate us in the terrifying phenomenon of a tsunami. Surfers surrender to the rhythm of waves, an embodied metaphor of attuning to the rising and falling of unconscious forces. Poseidon, Greek god of the ocean, was also the deity of destructive tidal waves, which can sweep us away and show up often in dreams. In physics, a wave is a disturbance that travels through space and matter, transferring energy from one place to another and, therefore, part of the fabric of the subatomic...

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Episode 224 - The Way of Kabbalah: ancient map of the psyche show art Episode 224 - The Way of Kabbalah: ancient map of the psyche

This Jungian Life

Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish mystical tradition that has captured the imaginations of people from widely diverse backgrounds, including Jung himself. Three weeks after his heart attack in 1944, Jung had an ecstatic vision, “…Everything around me also seemed enchanted…I myself was in Pardes-Rimonim, in the pomegranate garden where Tiferet and Malchut married. I also imagined myself as Rabi Shimon ben Yochai, whose mystical marriage was celebrated now. It looked exactly as the Kabbalists portrayed it. I cannot tell you how amazing it was…” Though Jung did not live long enough to...

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Episode 223 - Imp of the Perverse: struggling with our fiendish shadow show art Episode 223 - Imp of the Perverse: struggling with our fiendish shadow

This Jungian Life

A fiendish inner spirit can prompt behavior that defies self-interest and even common sense. In Edgar Allan Poe’s story, the protagonist acts on his diabolical urge to commit murder, followed by a self-destructive urge to confess it. Jung says, “If he has done it secretly, without moral consciousness of it, and remains undiscovered, the punishment can nevertheless be visited upon him…” The impulse to take irrational and even immoral risks can cause inner torment and lead to damaging actions. The trickster within tempts us to yield to impulse, succumb to negligence, or be recklessly...

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Episode 222 - Hansel and Gretel: Overcoming Trauma show art Episode 222 - Hansel and Gretel: Overcoming Trauma

This Jungian Life

Fairy tales are fierce narratives of human shadow and its transformation. Hansel and Gretel depicts raw childhood trauma: parents abandon their children in the forest in order to feed themselves. Then the children discover a magical, edible cottage, only to be entrapped by a cannibalistic witch. Everyone is starving, a metaphor for psychic insufficiency. The children’s loyalty to one another gives rise to strategy and bravery, yielding riches and redemption—the reward for engaging danger with valor. Marie-Louise von Franz, one of Jung’s closest collaborators, recognized that fairy tales...

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Episode 221- DAIMON: Demon or Destiny? show art Episode 221- DAIMON: Demon or Destiny?

This Jungian Life

The daimon, a guiding spirit of individual destiny, was discussed by ancient Greek philosophers and still surfaces in books and movies like The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Daimons were particularly linked to creativity and life force and described as lesser deities, divine messengers, and determinative fates. For Jung, “daimon” was a synonym for that part of the unconscious concerned with life purpose, and it spoke through intuition and dreams. Ego’s task is transforming the autonomous power of the daimon into authentic expression in life. Jungian analyst and author James Hillman...

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Episode 220 - Can We Consider Abortion? show art Episode 220 - Can We Consider Abortion?

This Jungian Life

The word consider derives from Latin considerare, “to look at closely, observe.” Con means “with, together,” and sidus refers to “heavenly body, star constellation.” Observing the marvel of the stars with another is very different from engaging in conflict, “to contend, fight, or struggle.” Conflict summons rigid polarities: for or against, right or wrong, and winning or losing. Significant issues like abortion test our ability to tolerate ambiguity and anxiety without activating the polarizing defenses of judging, moralizing, or demonizing the other. Pregnancy, the archetype...

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Episode 219 - Archetypal Aspects of School show art Episode 219 - Archetypal Aspects of School

This Jungian Life

Schools have existed across cultures and throughout time; the knowledge they transmit leads us out of childhood, shapes our values and world view, and grooms us for citizenship. Schools help us build ego strength and adapt to cultural norms, the goal of the first half of life and the first stage of individuation. School experiences also wound us, as Jung recalled in his memoir. Collective schooling instills the uniformity needed for a cohesive culture, but individual uniqueness may be lost. Individualized education—including home life--can enhance personal uniqueness or compensate for...

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Episode 218 - Dream Incubation with Machiel Klerk show art Episode 218 - Dream Incubation with Machiel Klerk

This Jungian Life

Guest Machiel Klerk has worked with dreams and healing traditions worldwide; his new book is Dream Guidance: Connection to the Soul through Dream Incubation. Religions, shamanic practices, and depth psychology have recognized the significance of dreams and sought their aid. Dreams open into a deeply intelligent source Jung called the two-million-year-old man. This inner companion is interested in our development and life purpose, and he transports us nightly to worlds of vivid images, fulsome feeling, and embodied experience. Dream incubation invites these encounters into consciousness through...

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Episode 217 - DEATH: A Jungian Perspective show art Episode 217 - DEATH: A Jungian Perspective

This Jungian Life

Awareness of death can help us create an intentional life—one that serves the movement of soul toward wholeness. Jung realized that although we experience death as “a fearful piece of brutality,” the unconscious images death as celebration. On a night train, after his mother died, Jung reported that “during the entire journey I continually heard dance music, laughter, and jollity, as though a wedding were being celebrated.” Our limited capacities and the conditions of earthly life preclude certainty about life after death, but Jung’s recognition of universal mythic patterns led to...

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Episode 216 - Hans Christian Andersen: Persona & Personhood show art Episode 216 - Hans Christian Andersen: Persona & Personhood

This Jungian Life

While many of Hans Christian Andersen’s 19th-century stories have moralizing motifs, their universality and depth places them among ageless fairy tales. Although The Princess and the Pea and The Emperor’s New Clothes are social satire, they also depict psychic dynamics. A young prince searches but cannot find a mate—until a princess arrives one stormy night, soaking wet and mind-blowingly over-sensitive. Do opposites attract, or are they only contrasting representations of superficiality and entitlement? Andersen’s pen next delivers the famous emperor an even more pointed jab: a child,...

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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."