Saturday, May 27, 2017

‘In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order’

Summer draws near, so it is time for the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York’s Summer Studies classes. To gain a stronger understanding of Freemasonry, it helps to find alternative contexts, such as Jungian psychology, for the fraternity’s teachings. Try it. I think I recognize some potential within these course descriptions. The Foundation is located at 28 East 39th Street. From the publicity:

The C.G. Jung Foundation of New York
One-Week, Intensive Summer Study Programs 2017

Intensive Program 1:
Ancient Myths for Modern Times
July 10-14

The title “Ancient Myths for Modern Times” captures the heart of this week’s program as well as the complexity of Jungian or archetypal psychology, in which myths present ways of seeing and new perspectives. Myths are archetypally charged, providing images, symbols, stories and a pantheon of gods that constellate in our Personal and Collective Unconscious.

Archetypes can be seen as carriers of fiction, the myths and heroes that still speak to us through time and memory, providing another angle for seeing and containers for our psychological complexity. Jung reminded us that we cannot escape imaginal history for it still lives in our psyche.

Monday, July 10
9 to 10 a.m.
Registration, Welcome, and Orientation

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Homer’s Penelope: Walking the Path
of the First Heroine in the Western Canon

Penelope is the first heroine in the Western Canon. She appears on the world stage in Book I of Homer’s Odyssey, and she has lived in our collective memory for more than 2,800 years. For much of the time, however, her story, like the stories and myths of many important female figures, has been undervalued and largely untold. Until today Penelope as a role model for the development of feminine consciousness, and her importance in our collective meaning system, lie dormant. The mythology, which shaped Penelope’s character and her world, as old as time out of mind, is contained in Homer and other ancient sources, and continues to shape the lives and souls of women and men today.

Jung understood myths to be collective dreams, which express archetypal patterns residing in the collective unconscious. He taught that myths, fairy tales, and legends are fundamental vehicles for translation and integration of the archetypal contents into consciousness, culturally and individually. Like dreams, these ancient stories are rich repositories of archetypal patterns, symbols, and ancestral memory. Furthermore, when mythic stories are seen and heard, they stimulate the flow of archetypal patterns from the creative unconscious into consciousness. Jungian methods of dream analysis may be applied to work with these primordial forms in myths, fairy tales, and folk legends—association method, amplification method, active imagination, and other imaginative techniques.

During this program we will see how Penelope stands at the center of Homer’s great epic poem as the first heroine in the Western Canon. We will see how her presence and power drive the narrative. We will then apply Jungian methods, culture theory, comparative mythology, and creative techniques that stimulate imagination, to amplify and enlarge her story, and identify major archetypal elements embedded in the poetry. By applying these methods and techniques to translate archetypal patterns into psychological language, and by hearing some examples from case material, we will discover how these ancient patterns of womanhood are alive in our world today.

Tuesday, July 11
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Trauma, Temenos and Transformation:
Alchemy, Myth and Human Development

“In many cases in psychiatry, the patient who comes to us has a story that is not told, and which as a rule no one knows of. To my mind, therapy only really begins after the investigation of that wholly personal story. It is the patient’s secret, the rock against which he is shattered. If I know his secret story, I have a key to the treatment. The doctor’s task is to find out how to gain that knowledge. In most cases exploration of the conscious material is insufficient . . . In therapy the problem is always the whole person, never the symptom alone. We must ask questions which challenge the whole personality.”

C.G. Jung.

Many of the myths, traditions and rituals that once guided us on our shared journey of the human experience—and helped give purpose to our lives—are lacking in our modern world. As a result, we often wander hopelessly while our spirit aches for a safe place where we can face our fears and explore our true calling.

Alchemy, a non-profit organization based in Akron, Ohio, creates just such a safe environment—a temenos—where through the telling, discussion and analysis of mythological stories and fairy tales urban adolescent males learn to “become the hero in their own story.” Utilizing this same approach, adults will work through a myth while the myth simultaneously works through them. “Myths are not just for putting children asleep, but for waking adults up.” This workshop is designed to assist in an awakening.

The foundational theory of Alchemy, based upon the work of C.G. Jung, the Akan people of West Africa and common themes of myth, will be explored and experienced. The socialization and psychology of urban male youth will be inspected and the importance of a Temenos to address trauma will be examined—all the while, providing a blueprint of how myth can be applied in any setting, with anyone, assisting in the development of the psyche.

Wednesday, July 12
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Narcissistic Injury in Polynesian
and Inuit Myth (and in Current Politics)

Healthy narcissism is healthy self-love, which enables us to love and respect others as we respect ourselves. A politician might then love his or her own values and ideas enough to seek office, and love his or her constituents enough to work faithfully for their well-being.

But we all have some degree of injured narcissism. If the injury is severe we will be hollowed out by it, empty, greedy, obsessed with our own importance, and destructive. If constituents’ self-esteem has been injured, perhaps by social change, technology, or globalism, then they may elect a severely injured narcissist because his defensive grandiosity speaks to their own.

Narcissistic injury has always been part of the human condition, even in stone-age cultures. We will read two neolithic legends. We will see that they anticipate some of Jung’s insights. They both describe narcissistic injury and show psychological responses which help to heal it, or at least withstand its destructive power.

We will see that the wisdom of these legends can help us now as we face current political developments.

To prepare for this day’s workshop, please read this essay, and this Polynesian and this Inuit legend.

Please do the reading weeks ahead of time to give yourself time to reflect, especially upon the legends. The symbolic language of legends and dreams requires meditation. This class will be, in part, about the process by which symbols may be interpreted. Try to notice and record what associations (and perhaps dreams) these legends evoke in your own psyche.

Thursday, July 13
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Odyssey: Masculine Individuation
and the Anima

We have come to regard The Odyssey as a timeless mythological and imaginal offering that dramatizes in poetic form patterns of human behavior. In this respect, Homer’s Odyssey is a heroic, dramatic and archetypal poem that in the raw also represents a psychology. We don’t really know why the Greeks were able to produce such timeless creations. Psychologist James Hillman has written that the Renaissance had no field of psychology and the Greeks had no field of religion. We see through the works of Socrates, Plato and later Plotinus that the Greeks had a capacity to think psychologically and metaphorically. For these philosophers, soul-making did not depend on the personal but on a relationship to the archetypal powers. This is just one reason The Odyssey can find a home in contemporary psychological thinking.

In this session, we look at patterns of masculine individuation as a critical part of Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca from Troy after the Trojan War. We will consider the archetypal transformation inherent in this journey. We will pay particular attention to the inclusion of the anima as part of the masculine individuation and the variety of feminine influences encountered along the way. We will explore how these influences are perceived, received and projected. Our primary objective is to underscore the importance of the feminine consciousness in Odysseus and how he grew psychologically from his relationship with Penelope and the anima within.

It is important to note that these archetypal contents reside in the collective and therefore do not indicate a literal, conscious course of action on the part of Odysseus. A reading of The Odyssey reminds that us Odysseus, unlike Achilles in the Iliad, is a very complex character: an anti-hero, a Hermes character with his twists and turns, and at times the proverbial Trickster. In such a complex, ancient and archetypal tale, a character can represent a psychological complexity within the context of raging action. Odysseus can do no less with the archetypal figure Penelope waiting for him beyond the horizon, in the mist, yet a real and persistent anima influence.

Friday July 14
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Tragic Hero in Modern Times

In his Poetics, when describing the reaction to the tragic hero, Aristotle writes “our pity is excited by misfortunes undeservedly suffered, and our terror by some resemblance between the sufferer and ourselves… There remains for our choice a person neither eminently virtuous nor just, nor yet involved in misfortune by deliberate vice or villainy, but by some error or human frailty…”

In this workshop, we will explore the flaws that bring about the downfall of ancient figures such as Oedipus, Achilles, Macbeth, and Lear and modern figures such as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Troy Maxson in Fences. These deficits result from an inability or unwillingness to look at qualities hidden in the shadows. We will also look at how similar problems in our lives and in the lives of well-known people, such as Freud and Jung, and figures in the political world result in unfortunate, and sometimes tragic, consequences.

Intensive Program 2:
Cosmos from Chaos:
Living Consciously in a Troubled World
July 17-21

During this week we will focus on issues as familiar to the ancient Greeks as they are to us in the 21st century. The human goal has always been to bring cosmos, order or unity, out of chaos. The third century Neoplatonist Plotinus, later revered during the Italian Renaissance, wrote about reaching Oneness or the Intellectual Principle by joining disparate forces and rising above them. Jung’s joining of opposites, such as the conscious and the unconscious, is in this spirit and intellectual tradition. The desire for unity is a compelling psychological urge that is universal and fraught with danger.

Monday, July 17
9 to 10 a.m.
Registration, Welcome, and Orientation

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Living Consciously in a Troubled World

“For in all chaos there is a cosmos; in all disorder a secret order.”
C.G. Jung
CW Vol. 9,1

“What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?”
Job 6:11

In this workshop, we will look at the ways people cope in times of chaos. It is suggested that participants read the Book of Job, especially as translated by Stephen Mitchell. We will also explore the coping mechanisms used by people who survived the Holocaust, racism, sexism, and LGBT discrimination. We will focus on how the strategies used in the individuation process can help us understand ourselves as we face difficulties that the world presents.

Tuesday, July 18
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

C.G. Jung’s Psychoanalytic Approach
to Spirituality: A Compass for Conscious Living

“Everything now depends on man.”
Jung 1969d: 459

Jung contended that the archetypes were driven to create consciousness and that mysticism was at the heart of the individuation process. He proposed that mystical nothingness generated a greater compassion for the world and assisted in birthing the Divine into consciousness.

Jung came from a traditional religious background on his father’s side and had a mother who was connected to Spiritualism. These two realities contributed to his search for a religious function in the psyche. During Jung’s career he attempted to bridge these two religious expressions and was in pursuit to understand the spiritual propensity within the psyche. Through the historical writings of the mystics, his personal religious experiences, his confrontation with the unconscious and his treatment of patients, Jung came to know the connection between religious experience and the psyche. The numinous became the ground of being for Jung and also the door to the sacred. According to Jung, the divine and the human are dependent on each other to bring consciousness into the world. It is through consciousness that the Divine can incarnate and redeem humankind.

Jung developed his analytic theory and therapeutic techniques from his findings to assist humankind in psychological, personal, societal growth and development. He cautioned that unconsciousness could cause personal, political, and spiritual ramifications that would hinder or halt involvement in the further creation of humanity. Unconsciousness truncates the Divine and throws one into chaos while reflection and connection with the numinous fosters consciousness and thus assists in helping one live more consciously. Jung’s union of psychology and spirituality became humanity’s compass for conscious living and a call from the Divine. His psychoanalytic approach to spirituality made us aware of how one can participate in the creation or destruction of the world.

This seminar will explore Jung’s thoughts and influences from the mystical tradition and the analytic theories that evolved to create a compass for conscious living.

Wednesday, July 19
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Magic of the Other

“Magical practice falls into two parts: first, developing an understanding of chaos, and second translating the essence into what can be understood.”

C.G. Jung, The Red Book

This seminar is an exploration of self as Other because it is often through Other that we best come to know our psychological selves. But how do we define Other? The definition of Other includes not only that which is representative of the true self in reflection, but also those projected Shadow aspects we cannot contain nor see within ourselves.

Material from the unconscious seeps through in order to provide a disruption to the ego’s “normal”—creating chaos, as we are overcome by our complexes, by what appears to belong outside ourselves—to the Other. Many times it is the emotional content of personal or cultural complexes that orient us in positions of opposition to the Other.

In contemporary times, within the Collective, we might be feeling anxious and made fearful by events in our personal and/or professional lives. Against a foreground of the personal daily life is the Collective one of societal issues—racism, misogyny and fears of terrorism, just to name a few. How we find inner solace often depends on how willing we are to go deeper into developing knowledge regarding our complexes, our Shadow and an understanding of psychological Opposites. Our seminar discussion will focus on Jung’s theories of Shadow as well as Opposites and their importance in seeing into one’s own psychological strengths, weaknesses, personal and cultural Collective projections in relationship to Other.

Thursday, July 20
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

The Shadow Unmasked

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair — in short, the period was so far like the present period.”

Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities

We are living in times of paradox much like the historical period Dickens is writing about in the years leading up to the French Revolution. It seems that the fabric of our culture, indeed the fabric of the Cosmos, is breaking apart. Chaos reigns. Reliable cultural, political and religious institutions and beliefs are falling into states of crises. This was also what C.G. Jung was experiencing in 1913 when he was in the midst of his personal psychological crisis. He dreamt that Europe was engulfed in rivers of blood even though the outer world seemed to be relatively stable. Still there were signs of unrest and disaffection. It was as a result of his inner experiences and finally after the outbreak of the Great War, World War I that he became aware of what he later called the Shadow. This became one of his key concepts in what is now known as Analytical or Jungian Psychology.

The Shadow encompasses all that is unconscious within us as well as without. How we become aware of our own shadow material and how we begin to see it in the outer world will determine not only our personal health but also the health of our planet. In this presentation, we will examine and learn to identify shadow material. We will use images from films and news media, literature and art, and the writings of Jung, including material from The Red Book, to help us in this vital exploration of our souls and of the world we are currently involved in shaping and by which we are shaped. Forces within and without are pushing us like tectonic plates to transform. Our greater consciousness can guide us to more positive social and environmental change. As Jung said, “The world hangs by a thin thread. That is Psyche. And what would occur if something happens to Psyche?”

Friday, July 21
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1:30 to 4 p.m.

Falling Apart and Coming Together:
Living Consciously through Times
of Upheaval and Uncertainty

“In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets. Our earthly world is split into two halves, and nobody knows where a helpful solution is to come from.”

C.G. Jung Vol.10, para 610

In this seminar, we will try to understand the challenges and terrors of our current times through a Jungian lens. Jung’s understanding of the nature and evolution of both the collective and the personal psyche will guide us in our explorations, including Jung’s unique appreciation of the role of projection in relation to consciousness. We will focus on the clinical manifestations and individual symptoms, such as anxiety, stress, and the wide range of disorders on the bi-polar spectrum associated with our current political, cultural and economic divisions. We will place particular emphasis on helpful strategies and attitudes to navigate the rough waters of these difficult mood states which plague so many in our culture. Selected images from the Tarot will assist us in approximating the battlefield of this archetypal drama played out in the collective psyche.

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