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Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 09/24/2020

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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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.

Numinous experiences happen to us, yet we can approach the numinous by engaging in practices like active imagination, recording dreams, or religious and esoteric modalities. Wisdom traditions—and Jung—have marked the trails. Life crisis and trauma can also open us to the numinous: fairy tales, myths, and religious texts relate happenings of help when all seemed lost. Whether sought or suffered, something greater appears when ego yields. We can act on the guidance that is given, and may attain the healing gifted by experience of the numinous. 

 

Dream

I have a joined a circle of men and women studying something psychological. I watch and wait for their leader to welcome me but he wanders off. It is part of a festival and people are lying around sexually pleasuring each other. I explore downstairs but when I come back the workshop members have put on costumes of gods and goddesses (the theme is Celtic, Nordic) They are coming to a gate at the centre of the ritual and I am in the way.

Suddenly, a door opens and I'm pulled out of the way. It is the workshop leader and he takes me to a workbench. I can't remember his name but his book is on the bench. He is called Loki. Suddenly, the screw falls out of my glasses frame and lens falls out. I look on the floor but it is made of sand and there are lots of screws which are too big.

After a long search, with no success, I discover something thin and fine in my mouth. I take it out. It is part of my glasses. There is more in my mouth. It is a sliver of the lens and rather than being plastic it is made of glass. I must get it out of my mouth or I will swallow and cut my own throat.

 

References:

William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (Amazon). 

C.S. Lewis. The Problem of Pain (Amazon).