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Episode 119 - The Religious Attitude: What Do You Worship?

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 07/09/2020

Episode 139 - Visionary Imagination: Jung’s Private Journals show art Episode 139 - Visionary Imagination: Jung’s Private Journals

This Jungian Life

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

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Episode 138 - Spider Parents: Finding Freedom from Dependence show art Episode 138 - Spider Parents: Finding Freedom from Dependence

This Jungian Life

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.

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Episode 137 - QAnon: Ancient Lies & Sexual Slanders show art Episode 137 - QAnon: Ancient Lies & Sexual Slanders

This Jungian Life

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.

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Episode 136 - REVIVING OUR CAPACITY TO FEEL: The Core of Jung’s Legacy show art Episode 136 - REVIVING OUR CAPACITY TO FEEL: The Core of Jung’s Legacy

This Jungian Life

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.

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Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away? show art Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away?

This Jungian Life

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.

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Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness show art Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness

This Jungian Life

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?

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Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands show art Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands

This Jungian Life

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.

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Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places show art Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places

This Jungian Life

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.

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Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change show art Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change

This Jungian Life

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?

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Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals show art Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals

This Jungian Life

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.

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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).