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Episode 105 - Ancestors: Our Psychological Inheritance

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 04/02/2020

UNREQUITED LOVE: Can Eros be revived? show art UNREQUITED LOVE: Can Eros be revived?

This Jungian Life

When we offer our heart and it is refused, even the gods become angry.  One day long, long ago, Aphrodite was a new mother. Her son, Eros, was the living symbol of her endless passion for his father, Aries. Despite her divine gifts, Eros failed to thrive. Desperate, she brought the goblet to the ancient mother, Themis, who knew the boy was dying at once. Aphrodite was instructed to bear a second child who, when presented to Eros, would cure him. Dutifully, she lay with Aries and begot a second son. She brought them close and was astonished to see her new son leap toward Eros, who met him...

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THE LAST AWAKENING: Death Anxiety and Its Role in Psychological Transformation show art THE LAST AWAKENING: Death Anxiety and Its Role in Psychological Transformation

This Jungian Life

How do the varied human experiences, beliefs, and practices related to death and dying illuminate our understanding of life's meaning and help us face the end of life with peace and a spirit of adventure? The death instinct (Thanatos) and the life instinct (Eros) symbolize the internal conflict between self-destructive urges and desires for creation, reflecting the psychological struggle with mortality. Religious traditions across the globe, from Buddhism's focus on impermanence to Christianity's belief in eternal life, offer diverse approaches to mitigating the fear of death, demonstrating...

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SPEAKING TRUTH: Is it Venom or a Cure? show art SPEAKING TRUTH: Is it Venom or a Cure?

This Jungian Life

How do we navigate the complex interplay between personal truths, societal norms, and psychological well-being to foster individual growth and societal progress? We examine the multifaceted nature of Truth and its impact on individuals and communities. We touch on the challenges of speaking Truth to power, the psychological dynamics of scapegoating and being disbelieved, the role of psychotherapy in uncovering and dealing with personal truths, and the significance of narrative and perception in shaping our understanding of reality. We underscore the importance of discerning and integrating...

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Promethean Inflation: Will our creations destroy us? show art Promethean Inflation: Will our creations destroy us?

This Jungian Life

Are we inadvertently summoning forces beyond our control in our relentless pursuit of innovation and progress? Can we harness the power of our creations without unleashing terrible consequences upon ourselves and our world?  Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus, were tasked by Zeus with fashioning all living creatures. They granted animals remarkable abilities - feathers for flight, claws, fangs for hunting, tails for balance, and gills to breath underwater. When it came to humans, they had no gifts left. Still, Prometheus loved his human creations and daringly stole fire from Olympus...

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Kelly Bulkeley: Is Dreaming the Source of Spirituality? show art Kelly Bulkeley: Is Dreaming the Source of Spirituality?

This Jungian Life

How do dreams influence and reflect our spiritual beliefs and experiences across different cultures and historical periods, and what does scientific research reveal about this relationship? Kelly Bulkeley, PhD, is a global expert on dreaming and the psychology of religion.  We explore his latest book "The Spirituality of Dreaming: Unlocking the Wisdom of Our Sleeping Selves." Dreams universally function as essential gateways to spiritual understanding, a truth echoed across cultures and eras. Modern sleep and dream research confront and expand upon the traditional views revealing a more...

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DIVORCE: How can heartbreak lead to transformation? show art DIVORCE: How can heartbreak lead to transformation?

This Jungian Life

How does the experience of divorce lead to personal transformation and self-discovery? The journey of divorce is emblematic of a profound personal transformation, often unveiling the paradoxical nature of human relationships where deep trust and love coexist with the potential for betrayal and disillusionment, reflecting the intrinsic human struggle between connection and individuality. This individuation process during and after divorce constellates a metamorphosis, where confronting the shadows of a broken relationship becomes a gateway to self-discovery, self-acceptance, and a deeper...

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Three Jungians on Psychedelics: Is Tripping a Valid Path of Self-Discovery? show art Three Jungians on Psychedelics: Is Tripping a Valid Path of Self-Discovery?

This Jungian Life

How can combining psychedelics and Jungian psychology enhance our understanding of psyche? Psychedelics may help us access deep layers of the unconscious, revealing aspects of psyche that are often inaccessible through traditional psychoanalytic methods alone. Jungian analysis, with its focus on archetypes and the collective unconscious, provides a framework for interpreting and integrating the complex, symbolic experiences often encountered in psychedelic states. The combination of psychedelics and analysis could facilitate a more profound and holistic healing process, addressing not only...

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FANNY BREWSTER: How can dreams bridge us to ancestors? show art FANNY BREWSTER: How can dreams bridge us to ancestors?

This Jungian Life

Jung's concept of the collective unconscious emphasized the universal psychological substrate common to all humans. While he acknowledged the effects of the cultural unconscious, his work, at times, fell into the trap of perpetuating oversimplified and racially prejudiced stereotypes. Jung's writings that refer to Africanist peoples, in particular, suffer from offensive assumptions. Dr. Fanny Brewster, Jungian analyst and author, searches for the healing cultural elements in the dreams of the African diaspora. Dreams have always been important in traditional African cultures. In Zimbabwe, the...

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SOLSTICE: Why is the longest night so magickal? show art SOLSTICE: Why is the longest night so magickal?

This Jungian Life

Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, calls us to brood and turn within. Retreating to the unconscious is a psychic wintering, calling our life force down into our archaic patterns. It can trigger a sorrowing that helps us adjust to inevitable losses, just like the forest that silently drops its foliage without lament. At the nadir of darkness, light is reborn, and each successive day grows longer. Ancient and modern rituals celebrate the light’s triumph over darkness. No matter our background, attunement to light is woven into our bodies, for we are all part of the cosmic...

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Yascha Mounk: Why Society Crumbles When We Obsess Over Identity show art Yascha Mounk: Why Society Crumbles When We Obsess Over Identity

This Jungian Life

Yascha Mounk is a political scientist and author focused on the challenges facing liberal democracies and the rise of populism. As a Johns Hopkins University professor and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, he critically examines identity politics in modern society. His influential works include "The People vs. Democracy" and "The Identity Trap." In an era where identity politics reshapes global narratives, the urgent need to balance diversity with universal human values becomes clear. The melding of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and critical race theory raises a provocative...

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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).