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Episode 61 - Individuation

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 05/30/2019

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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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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More Episodes

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.