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Episode 212 - THE PRODIGAL SON as Shadow, Ego & the Self

This Jungian Life

Release Date: 05/05/2022

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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Episode 217 - DEATH: A Jungian Perspective show art Episode 217 - DEATH: A Jungian Perspective

This Jungian Life

Awareness of death can help us create an intentional life—one that serves the movement of soul toward wholeness. Jung realized that although we experience death as “a fearful piece of brutality,” the unconscious images death as celebration. On a night train, after his mother died, Jung reported that “during the entire journey I continually heard dance music, laughter, and jollity, as though a wedding were being celebrated.” Our limited capacities and the conditions of earthly life preclude certainty about life after death, but Jung’s recognition of universal mythic patterns led to...

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Episode 216 - Hans Christian Andersen: Persona & Personhood show art Episode 216 - Hans Christian Andersen: Persona & Personhood

This Jungian Life

While many of Hans Christian Andersen’s 19th-century stories have moralizing motifs, their universality and depth places them among ageless fairy tales. Although The Princess and the Pea and The Emperor’s New Clothes are social satire, they also depict psychic dynamics. A young prince searches but cannot find a mate—until a princess arrives one stormy night, soaking wet and mind-blowingly over-sensitive. Do opposites attract, or are they only contrasting representations of superficiality and entitlement? Andersen’s pen next delivers the famous emperor an even more pointed jab: a child,...

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Episode215 - POISON: Toxic or Transformative? show art Episode215 - POISON: Toxic or Transformative?

This Jungian Life

Pharmakon, the ancient Greek word for drug, can mean both “remedy” and “poison.” There is a close connection between poison and cure. Poison is stealthy, and takes us by surprise, whether through an unseen snake’s venomous bite or a ripe apple’s alluring disguise. Psychological poison glides past our defenses, pervades our being, and wounds us where we are most vulnerable. We participate in our poisoning through our own unknowing, from toxic cognitions and rigid fixations to self-doubt and self-sabotage. Poison can transform us by stinging us into building the immunity of increased...

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Episode 214 - HOMESICKNESS: Longing & Belonging show art Episode 214 - HOMESICKNESS: Longing & Belonging

This Jungian Life

From Homer’s Odyssey to the Wizard of Oz our native soil draws us home, whether home is a small Greek island or a simple Kansas farm. The soul has a natural longing to return to the place of its beginning and belonging. Home is a state of safety and changelessness; it is our foundational experience of original completeness, containment and care. As we mourn the loss of the familiar and face the unknown, homesickness generates neural activity similar to physical pain. Its underlying intent is to spur us into detaching from the familiar and investing in the foreign. Homesickness asks that we...

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Episode 213 - VOCATION: Answering the Call show art Episode 213 - VOCATION: Answering the Call

This Jungian Life

Vocation, once associated with serving God through service to others, is now most strongly associated with a career having personal worth. Vocation spans a range of needs and values:  commitment to making ends meet, striving for material rewards and social status, or the more internal satisfaction of research, helping others, and artistic expression. Freud considered love and work the cornerstones of our humanness, and Jung said, “In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” A discernment process...

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Episode 212 - THE PRODIGAL SON as Shadow, Ego & the Self show art Episode 212 - THE PRODIGAL SON as Shadow, Ego & the Self

This Jungian Life

Jung interpreted religious traditions from the viewpoint of their psychological significance. The allegorical tale of the Prodigal Son illustrates Jung’s basic understanding of the structure and development of the psyche. The young prodigal epitomizes shadow qualities of ignorance, arrogance, and impetuousness. His dissolute indulgences show a lack of ego strength and land him in a pigsty. Repentant, he returns to his father’s estate, hoping for servant work. Instead, his father celebrates his homecoming. At this joyful reception, the older brother is aghast; he has been dutiful yet never...

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SHADOWLAND: DETRANSITION – THE STORY OF BETH show art SHADOWLAND: DETRANSITION – THE STORY OF BETH

This Jungian Life

Beth underwent gender transition from natal female to trans male and has since de-transitioned. In her early teens, Beth felt she was not like other women and began to question her gender. She saw people who were nonconforming, but although she adopted a non-binary identity in college, people still saw her as a woman. Beth became drawn to a masculine identity and associated transitioning gender with empowerment: she would be free from the perceived social constraints and physical vulnerabilities of womanhood. Beth’s parents, the therapist she saw a few times, and the surgeon all affirmed her...

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Episode 210 - Causal or Creative: Is History Destiny? show art Episode 210 - Causal or Creative: Is History Destiny?

This Jungian Life

The Roman god Janus had two faces. They looked in opposite directions, representing dualities, especially beginnings and endings, past and future. Psychotherapy often begins by facing the past and understanding its influence on the present. Belief in the past as unalterably determinative, however, can imply that personal history is a single, all-powerful god—as if Janus fixed on yesterday. Jung took special interest in psyche’s purposive and creative energy—the face Janus turned toward the future. Incarnating our innate potential, which Jung termed the individuation process, is the...

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More Episodes

Jung interpreted religious traditions from the viewpoint of their psychological significance. The allegorical tale of the Prodigal Son illustrates Jung’s basic understanding of the structure and development of the psyche. The young prodigal epitomizes shadow qualities of ignorance, arrogance, and impetuousness. His dissolute indulgences show a lack of ego strength and land him in a pigsty. Repentant, he returns to his father’s estate, hoping for servant work. Instead, his father celebrates his homecoming. At this joyful reception, the older brother is aghast; he has been dutiful yet never so acclaimed. He is the embodiment of a respectable persona and adaptation—yet his ego-oriented sense of self seems to have a less enlivened connection with the father. Symbolizing the transcendent Self, the father provides redemptive eros and safe haven. Each of us has a shadow, an ego that tends to believe it’s our totality, and a transpersonal center that can welcome us home.

HERE'S THE DREAM WE ANALYZE:

“I am on the second platform of a four-tiered structure leading from a dock on the river to the top of a cliff. There are ladders and obstacles connecting each of the platforms. I am looking down at the water, which is raging and ebbing with monstrous waves. The water is a beautiful color of indigo blue, vastly wide and immensely deep. Boats are being tossed in the waves with the owners tethered to them by rope, desperately attempting to climb aboard but ultimately becoming swallowed by the crashing waves. I notice a small park ranger dinghy boat come out from a crack in the cliff face and set into the raging water in an apparent attempt to save the other boaters. The driver of the boat appears timid and frightened. I shout to a man next to me, "I used to have that job!" The boat is immediately capsized. I begin climbing up to the third platform and become paralyzed with fear as I climb the wooden pegs jutting out of the side of the cliff. I am aware that a slip would result in certain death. I realize that I have done this many times before and struggle before ultimately pulling myself up and over. A young Afghan boy comes after me, effortlessly scaling this obstacle and the next, reaching the top of the cliff. I realize that I was holding up a line of people! I think of the capsized park ranger and determine that I must go save him. I look into the water from on high and see his body, curled in the fetal position, bobbing in the water. I am transported down and reach my hand in to gather him and perform CPR. I am confused to find that all I pull out of the water is a long-expired cartridge from a firework or rifle. I begin the climb up to the second tier and at the threshold, there is a tangled web of rope that ensnares me. I am panicking when I hear little voices from below: "Wear it like a dress!" I ponder this for a second and then slip through the rope web as if putting a dress on and am securely on the second platform. I look below and see a dozen young girls; aged about five years old, all wearing matching black and white dresses. I realize that I must help them up and demonstrate the climbing technique: “Pretend you are a pirate!" I shout to them and demonstrate in an animated way the technique. They begin to climb, and I reach down, gathering them two at a time and pulling them to the second platform.”

REFERENCES:

Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Luke 15:11-32.

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