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Episode 107 - Nigredo: Finding Light in Our Darkness

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 04/16/2020

Episode 232 - Theory of Enchantment: Chloe Valdary show art Episode 232 - Theory of Enchantment: Chloe Valdary

This Jungian Life

Could the antidote to racism be enchantment? Chloe Valdary thinks so. Theory of Enchantment is a radical approach to anti-racism rooted in understanding that celebrates the complexity of the human spirit. Since racism derives from deep insecurities projected onto others, the work of enchantment includes shadow, acknowledges personal complexity, and affirms right relationship with self. Diversity need not be division, and inclusion does not discount differences. Empathy does not ‘fix’ but accompanies another’s suffering, and criticism can be used to uplift and empower. Valdary’s fulsome...

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Episode 231 - THE QUEEN: Archetype & Individual show art Episode 231 - THE QUEEN: Archetype & Individual

This Jungian Life

Queen Elizabeth II is mourned around the world. The world saw stages of life live in and through her: from maiden to mate, mother to matriarch, elder to aged. She inherited her title but grew into her role, becoming a unifying image of virtue, service, stateliness, and constancy--wrapped in dedication and devotion. Above the skirmishes of ego-driven politics, the Queen balanced the mystique of majesty with human presence. She bore difficulties and disappointment with dignity, and in the 70 years of her reign modeled a standard of nobility that enabled her to preside over tumult and change....

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Episode 230 - ROAD TRIP: outer journey, inner mission show art Episode 230 - ROAD TRIP: outer journey, inner mission

This Jungian Life

The open road beckons: bigger, better, boundless. To see and to seek is a mythological theme with an American stamp, from wagon trains to memoirs and movies. Progress and mobility have long been associated with forging ahead and hitting the trail. Cars are personal capsules of autonomy and freedom: load, stop, and go according to wish or whim. Passing through and possibility are part of the road trip’s drift and direction. The traveler may hope for treasure, pleasure, or revelation—or be in flight from stasis, failure, and alienation. A road trip can be planned or spontaneous, solo or...

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Episode 229: HATRED: a way to hide our secrets show art Episode 229: HATRED: a way to hide our secrets

This Jungian Life

Hatred is a universal human emotion related to distancing and destroying. Hatred is anger, disgust, judgment, and contempt cemented into implacable permanence. Obsessive and inflating, hatred dupes us into feeling righteous and wrathful instead of small and wounded. Hating tricks us into projecting our disowned qualities onto an outer other, making the object of our hatred into an avatar for our own split-off instincts and desires. Our fixation fuses us in a darkly intimate way with “other,” the holder of a secret we are compelled to uncover, a truth we demand to rule. Hate hides the dread...

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Episode 228 - Donald Kalsched: Trauma & the Informed Heart show art Episode 228 - Donald Kalsched: Trauma & the Informed Heart

This Jungian Life

Dr. Donald Kalsched, Jungian analyst, teacher, and author, discusses his acclaimed work on childhood trauma; (see for upcoming programs). When there is unbearable emotional pain in childhood, archetypal defenses dismember such experience and banish parts of it to the unconscious, where it remains as unconscious suffering.  Such suffering is manifested as pathological symptoms, i.e., dysfunctional relationships, addictions, narcissism, and more. The defensive system that takes over--a ‘self-care system’--is both protective and persecutory of the innocence and vulnerability hiding in...

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Episode 227 - COMPARTMENTALIZATION: Coping with Contradiction show art Episode 227 - COMPARTMENTALIZATION: Coping with Contradiction

This Jungian Life

Compartmentalization is like a home electrical panel that separates power into different zones. It allows us to separate the charge carried by ideas, feelings, and actions without risking system overload. Compartmentalization lets us express concern about climate change yet fly overseas for a family vacation or care about animal rights and ignore factory farming. Such incompatible values and incongruent reasoning usually bypass the zone wired for emotional activation, allowing many daily activities and attitudes to operate smoothly. At the other end of the spectrum, compartmentalization can...

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Episode 226 - HERMES: Divine Trickster show art Episode 226 - HERMES: Divine Trickster

This Jungian Life

Karl Kerenyi collaborated with Jung in demonstrating the psychological meaning of Greek mythology. Kerenyi found in Hermes a representation of “a third way of living life, besides the Apollonian rational and the Dionysian irrational. God of jokes and journeys, thieves and magicians, the tricky Guide of Souls” arrives as a surprise. Like the quicksilver that is his Roman name, Mercury/Hermes appears on winged sandals, heralding the new. Hermes disdains regulation and law to deliver new ideas, dissolve opposites, and provide decisive experiences. Just as he alone traversed the realms--from...

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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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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).