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This Jungian Life
59 minutes | 6 hours ago
Episode 148 - Myth as Medicine: An Interview with Kwame Scruggs, PhD
Kwame Scruggs inspires men through mythology, drumming and connection to community and culture. As a young man Kwame discovered his inner fire through African-based initiatory rites. He asked himself “What is it I really want to do? Not what could I do. What did I want to do?” His passion for myth and drumming led him to graduate studies and creating programs in which story is the catalyst for inspired manhood and realization of potential. Story, fellowship and rhythm create an alchemical mixture that facilitates connection with self and others and the deep archetypal wellsprings of mature masculinity. As one participant exclaimed, “It works—it really works!” Alchemy, Scruggs’ award-winning program for young men, is the backdrop of a documentary film, Finding the Gold Within. On February 6 Kwame Scruggs brings his wisdom to a four-week online program, Men and Mythology (link below). Dream I am in an enormous, old building with a male friend. We are on a trip in a Middle Eastern, South Asian or North African country, and this building houses a huge market full of people, goods and activity. We, however, are in a big dusty storage/junk room, and there is no one else there. The ceilings are extremely high and light fills the room from windows near the top. The room is a pleasant warm color, and I feel contented. We aren't doing anything in particular and have no agenda. I have no problems, questions or desires. My friend goes into an adjoining room that is also very large and stores old, forgotten stuff, but it's completely dark. I can only make out the body of a dead man on a table and can only see his feet, which have a mummified appearance. My friend approaches the body, which surprises and somewhat alarms me. He reaches out and removes the tag from its toe. He flings it toward me while bent over with laughter. I turn away and the tag lands on the back of my left shoulder. I'm aware that we don't know the cause of death and think there could be smallpox on the tag for all we know. I'm not scared, though, just a bit disgusted and very annoyed. References: https://salomeinstitute.com/seminars/men-mythology-kwame-scruggs-february Michael Meade. Men & the Water of Life (Amazon)
78 minutes | 7 days ago
Episode 147 - The Archetype of the Good King
The king is figured prominently in myth, religion, and fairy tale. This compelling archetypal image has roots in our earliest human beginnings, when the king embodied his tribe’s earthly vitality and supra-human connection to spirit. Today, the king symbolizes universal psychic functions; each of us has an internal ruler. Like Solomon, the king presides over standards of ordering and lawgiving that undergird processes of discernment and decision. As warrior, the king protects and defends the kingdom of selfhood he has built; he has access to aggression and takes responsibility for the consequences of his actions. The masculine principle is also a symbol of the fertilizing presence that creates new psychic life and fuels libido for growth. And the king has the power to confer blessings. Like King Arthur, he provides all aspects of internal life with a seat at the round table of consciousness—and wholeness. Here's the dream we analyze: "I'm in a beautiful old building, it looks to be a library with large windows and oak desks. I'm there to talk to a man that my bossy/controlling neighbor friend is interested in. She wants me to convince him to ask her on a date. I'm carrying the book How to Be An Adult by David Richo in a semi-translucent grocery bag. As I start talking to him, we really hit it off and I'm very attracted to him; I want him for myself. Getting caught up in our connection, I almost forget why I'm there to talk to him but I also completely forget my friend's name. I go looking for her and find her bathing in a large metal tub in a back room of the library and I'm scared to tell her I didn't do what I was supposed to do (and that I even betrayed her in a way). I'm trying to get her to tell me how to pronounce her name, acting as if I still remember it but just can't pronounce it. The dream ends there." References Robert Moore. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine. Sir James George Frazer. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. Jordan Peterson. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Bella Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.
74 minutes | 14 days ago
Episode 146 - INFLATION: The Challenge of Archetypal Possession
Inflation applies to balloons, economics--and psychology. Jung defined it as being seized by archetypal energy resulting in “a puffed up attitude, loss of free will, delusion, and enthusiasm for good and evil alike.” Inflation is more than a “swelled head” because the influx of unconscious contents leads to identification with god-like powers. In Greek myth Phaeton became inflated when the sun god, Helios, acknowledged him as his son. Phaeton then asked to drive his father’s chariot, pulling the sun across the sky. He could not control the powerful horses, scorched the earth, and was killed. Arrogating god-like powers to oneself eclipses self-awareness and disaster ensues. Inflation can be expressed outwardly as power-seeking grandiosity or inwardly as self-sacrificing suffering. It is present in unrealistic risk-taking, frenzied creativity, spiritual illusions, the entitlement of toddlers and teens, and in collective excesses. Mobs are inflated, flouting the constraints of civilization, culture, and common sense. The antidote to inflation is humility, service, and love. Here's the dream we analyze: "Midway up a mountain I tried to get rid of my son, who was the size of a baby Yoda. My last attempt was to throw him into water in hopes it breaks and he freezes to death. He gets close a few times but always comes back to me. At this time I hear a woman in the distance yelling, telling me to stop and saying she would help and asking for my number. I ignore her and decide I better just grab my son and head up the mountain. I put him under my shirt as he hugs my chest -- he is freezing but warming up quickly. The last half of the mountain has a huge canvas sheet over it colored yellow, black and orange. I grip it with my hand and climb up. It’s hard and at no point does it ever ease up. My muscles are burning and I’m losing strength. When I’m near the edge to get to the top I have to give everything to get up top. I almost fell but I did make it. Once up I find a hidden compartment that has food and water. I rest before we descend. The lady made it up and she has a guy with her. She asked if I used the canvas to make it up. I said yes...she replied it’s beginning to tear so she didn’t use it. I showed her the compartment. She began talking about descending and not using the zipline to make it down this time. I tell her I need to practice ascending and descending vertically more."
79 minutes | 21 days ago
Episode 145 - Willpower: Choice, Energy & the Power to Achieve
The ability to choose and exercise will is a defining characteristic of humans. Only humans have enough energy available to consciousness to escape the rule of instinct. Jung says, “the realm of will cannot coerce instinct nor has it power over spirit,” so ego shall not dictate to psyche but find alignment with instinct and spirit, values and volition, before springing into pursuit of a goal. We must first choose to attend to ourselves, consider the size, worth, and cost of the goal—and then practice parenting ourselves through the journey to achieving it. The nurturing inner parent is neither punitive and depriving nor lax and indulgent, but helps us chart a course between immediate gratification and long-term fulfillment. Willpower is in service to harmony and wholeness. Here's the dream we analyze: "Scene 1: I received a huge certificate/invitation that said I had been chosen for special study among others in my class. It was a big 30x40” purple and white piece of sturdy paper. At first I thought I wasn't going to get it but I did. Although I felt like someone had given it to me just because I was upset that I didn't get one and it probably showed. The rest of the people who got it were the quiet, timid ones in the class. So this extra invitation or opportunity to learn presented by the certificate ensured this was their opportunity to shine. I was with a young guy carrying stuff in an elevator that descended past the ground floor to levels A,B,C,D,E. We stopped at Level E. That's where the training (from the certificate scene) would take place. I was eager but also anxious about going so far down beneath ground level. We walked out of the elevator into a corridor that was of concrete blocks and there were lights spaced out along the walls in equal distance. I had the feeling it was damp like a basement. I don't remember if we went anywhere past that. Scene 2: I saw different size bodies of water from above. I wanted to picnic by one of them. All of them had alligators in them so kayaking or swimming was out of the question. They were kind of marshy, with different vegetation growing around. I was with a girl. We picked a small pond and sat on its edge on something like a concrete slab that had a built-in bench-like feature. I was carrying two small, transparent organisms in my hand that I had to make sure not to lose or let them die. They were cup shaped. I was incredibly careful when placing them on the concrete and went to pick some tiny vegetation from the edge of the lake for them to rest and feed on. We talked and I noticed that one organism was trying to eat or hump the other except they weren't cup-shaped anymore but were rather elongated, resembling an ancient, less developed and basic structure like an insect with wings (like bee wings). They were still transparent. I think I tried to separate them but didn't want to hurt them so I didn't really intervene much, just kind of worried a bit if I should or how to intervene." References: Books by Robert A. Johnson
68 minutes | a month ago
Episode 144 - Fierce Female Initiations: Claiming Authority & Selfhood Through Trials
Mythological Paths to Personal Potential Myths and fairy tales depict women’s initiation into authority and adulthood. Hades abducted Kore (maiden) into the underworld; Snow White choked on a poisoned apple and lay in stasis; Aphrodite punished forsaken Psyche with arduous tasks. As all were blossoming into the fullness of their beauty and fertility, all were also in thrall to innocence complexes that blinded them to realities of envy, aggression, and power, imaged as rapist, step-mother, and mother-in-law. Women’s initiation into adulthood and authority involves encountering shadow, finding inner fire, taking action, and wielding power. Kore became queen of the underworld; Snow White metabolized the poison and revived; Psyche reclaimed her mate and ascended to Mt. Olympus. Female initiation involves relational trauma and the sacrifice of a naively romantic and other-oriented stance. This mythological pattern points to the potential for finding clear-eyed selfhood, life direction, and the will to achieve goals. Here's the dream we analyze: "I was playing a concert with a famous elder statesman of bluegrass. We play a funny song about a cat that travels with its owner in a semi-tractor trailer, across the USA. The song begins with me playing the bass and with the cat making some kind of meow. My cat (all grey, yellow eyes, born without a tail) was lying next to me on stage, curled up on top of a stool.v The cat's presence gave me comfort, humor and warmth. At end of song the lights went dark. A spotlight forms above the elder statesman, casting shadows across his features. He turns to me and gets very close to my face. I feel pressure at being the focus of attention. He produces a large stack of cards below his chin and starts showing them to me, one by one. At first the cards and numbers don't make sense. He draws 10 then 13 - maybe he can't guess the numbers my mind is picking. All of a sudden the "trick" begins to work. He picks 24, 48 and 72. He is drawing the cards I’m thinking of and from a very large stack. These numbers are bigger than a deck of playing cards, yet they are similarly designed, quite intricate. I’m shocked, not afraid, that he knows the numbers. The elder smirks a slight, knowing smile." References: Michael Meade. The Water of Life: Initiation and Tempering of the Soul. Mary Pipher. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. Carol Gilligan. In a Different Voice. Paul Foster Case. Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of Ages.
76 minutes | a month ago
Episode 143 - Scrooge on the Couch: How the Numinous Transforms
Something's going on in Scrooge's soul...and it's tired of waiting for an invitation. Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, vividly portrays the journey to healing and transcendence. It was written in a fever, released on December 19, 1843, and sold out before Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge’s visitations by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are vivid depictions of the path from trauma to transformation. As in psychotherapy, Scrooge revisits his past; by reclaiming the feelings he exiled as a child, Scrooge discovers compassion and connection. The visitation to the present shows Scrooge familial abundance of spirit despite material poverty and possible death for Tiny Tim (also a representation of Scrooge’s own emotionally crippled inner child). The last scene, like the lysis of a dream, shows Scrooge the bleak future to which his miserly ways lead. Scrooge’s encounters with transpersonal power break through his defenses and transform him into a man of joyful and generous heart. Scrooge has learned from his former partner’s ghost that: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” And so, as Tiny Tim declared, "God bless Us, Every One!”
62 minutes | a month ago
Episode 142 - The Archetype of the Divine Child: Light Reborn
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. Luke 2:10 The divine child appears when least expected, new potential born from the womb of the unconscious. Helpless and blessed and against all reason, the divine child represents the creative union of opposites that births a new beginning. Every new beginning is a divine child, and mythological revelations since ancient times greet new psychic potential with awe and adoration. Miraculous birth signals initiation into individuation and the preordained destiny of sacred and heroic figures across cultures and through time is also our own. The lives of Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Heracles, Horus, and Ganesha portray a Guiding Self-sustaining them through the hard human work of growing toward wholeness. Jung says, “You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning. If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning…” Here's the dream we analyze: "I am perched high on a cliff looking down on a horrifyingly beautiful sight. There is a rugged coastline with clear blue water that is inexplicably and immensely deep immediately at the shoreline. Just off the shoreline there are monstrously large (dinosaur comes to mind) sea creatures resembling otherworldly breeds of whale and shark that appear to be dead- floating perfectly still and suspended in the deep, clear water."
63 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 141 - FANTASY: Do We Have Fantasies or Do They Have Us?
Is fantasizing helpful or harmful? Fantasy is the process of engagement with unconscious processes, from the depths of the mythic unconscious to the make-believe worlds of online gaming. In passive fantasy we receive products of the unconscious as charged internal images: nighttime dreams, trance states and visions. Passive fantasy transgresses natural law, the limitations of waking life, and cultural restrictions, for in the subterranean realms of psychic experience all is permitted. Active fantasy allows us to interact with the unconscious and shape our experiences. It lives next door to ideas, reverie, play, intuition, and creativity. Passive or active, fantasy can call us into lives that are larger and more enlivened, or seduce us into escapism impedes adaptation to reality. Today we can consume fantasy, and it can be consuming. Jung’s collaborator, Marie-Louise von Franz said, “The great difficulty is to save the fantasy which is life-giving and cut away the childishness of the wish to realize it.” Here’s the Dream We Analyze “I’m in a small underground room. Near the ceiling, in a shadowy corner, hangs a cocoon or nest. It looks like a felted mitten and contains sleeping baby bats. Frightened, I summon my husband and quietly point out the nest. He agrees that we should take care not to wake the baby bats—for even though they are tiny and blind, they are not vulnerable. I whisper the phrase “dangerous little experts.” We stand as still as we can in the dark. The next scene is outdoors and sunny. I’m in the middle of a street that is normally busy, but now empty. A snowy owl appears before me on the pavement. I again summon my husband, and as we admire the owl, five more snowies arrive. They grow until they stand about four feet tall, then begin hopping and spinning and flapping, almost like they’re performing a ceremonial Native American dance. I suspect they are children wearing feather costumes, but no, they really are owls. My husband and I are thrilled and honored. The street seems alive with magic.” References Learn to Analyze your Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/ Quoted: Marie Louise von Franz, Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology https://www.amazon.com/dp/091912304X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_wJCVFbH3X12EK
63 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 140 - Doubt: Facing Life’s Unknowns
Doubt disturbs us. Unlike the more defined polarities of ambivalence, doubt is pervasive, muddy, and ranges from crippling to constructive. We may doubt our capacity to meet a challenge, achieve a desired outcome, or make the right decision. At a deeper level, doubt can threaten our orientation to reality and erode our sense of self. Doubt can also help us prepare, increase our capacity to take risks and build confidence in our ability to prevail whether we win or lose. Doubt is about the future—possibilities, and perils. We are called to remain steadfast and chart a course in the face of life’s unknowns, for to court certainty is to seek death of the soul. Jung says, “When you are in doubt you have the greatest opportunity to unite the dark and light sides of life.” And become more whole. Here's the dream we analyze: "I am going on a trip and traveling in a cab with friends. During the journey it gets lively, we are excited. I am dancing, making promises to my friends that I am not thinking about fully, and telling them how judgmental my father is. There is a lot of mess being made too which I am clearing up, it seems like grass I am sweeping up and there is a small pig/dog-like animal with us but I am caught up in the moment and not paying it too much attention. I get a feeling that my behavior is quite obnoxious in front of the driver but I don't stop. We arrive at a boat port, there are lots of people and enormous boats, everyone is getting their stuff loaded for their journeys. I check the time and realize we have 20 minutes to board the boat - I think perfect. I get out of the car look around and as I turn back to the cab I notice it drive off with my stuff. I panic and instantly think the driver didn't like me, that's why he drove off with my luggage. I start running after the car and notice others running after the car too. We run and keep up with the car but are not able to reach it then one of the girls I am running with says she has the driver’s number on her phone. I shout at her to call him urgently."
53 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 139 - Visionary Imagination: Jung’s Private Journals
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 substrata. The Philemon Foundation, which Dr. Shamdasani co-founded in 2003, is dedicated to bringing forward more of Jung’s unpublished manuscripts and correspondence—and now needs financial support to continue bringing Jung’s vital ideas to the world. Please click on the link below to learn more about the Philemon Foundation and how to support its work. How You Can Help: You can help bring CG Jung’s unpublished manuscripts to press by donating here: https://philemonfoundation.org/donate/ References: The Black Books may be purchased at a discount: https://philemonfoundation.org/purchasing-philemon-series-books/ Resources: Learn to Interpret Your Own Dreams: https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/
66 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 138 - Spider Parents: Finding Freedom from Dependence
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. A net of comfort and connection can become a web of entanglement and stultification. The tale of Sleeping Beauty portrays the stasis that ensues when parents try to protect their child from future dangers. Hindering destiny’s call to independence and individuation only obstructs the flow of life. Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. Kahlil Gibran Here's the dream we analyze: "I was on a hospital bed, due to a heart attack. Doctors were trying to send an electric wave to measure my heart damage--and I was terrified of the pain it may cause. Doctors told me that if it hurts I need surgery immediately. I was watching the screen, and it didn’t hurt at all. Doctors told me that my heart was really strong and that I can go home. I felt relieved. Then a nurse walked over to me and handed a piece of paper, a note from someone, and said I have to go see this other patient. The note was from Su, a high school female friend that betrayed me, a person that I don't think about at all. The note said that I need to take care of her babies. I was so confused. I walked over to the room, found her sitting on the bed. She pointed the babies to me and asked for help. I didn't talk to her. She has just given birth, and 3 little bundles were in a crib next to her. I lifted the bundles and they didn't look like babies, they were marble white and looked weird. Almost looked like the Hindu god with the elephant trunk- god Ganesh I think. I dropped them on the floor. I wanted to check whether they are real. I filled them with milk and said they are alive. I was so confused. I woke up."
84 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 137 - QAnon: Ancient Lies & Sexual Slanders
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. At the same time collectives project their need for leadership and unity onto a leader, investing the person with larger-than-life qualities. The mythic unconscious creates a dualistic division between ‘above and below’-- religious purity and righteousness versus ‘beasts of darkness,’ especially sex and aggression. Depth psychology focuses on the middle ground of soul, the realm of potential human wholeness. Without spiritual bypasses or fiends we may own our sexual, psychological and spiritual realities and develop a symbolic understanding of the myths we live in. Here's the dream we analyze: "I found myself in an enormous mansion, entirely empty; it was like a Jane Austen ball room. I was alone. A man with an Afro and a baby in a baby Bjorn walked past one of the many giant windows, snow behind him. He saw me and looked petrified. Running inside, he wanted to know what I was doing there, saying that this was the devil’s house. The town had gotten together years before and killed the devil. A prophecy was made that the next person to enter the house would be the devil. He said the townspeople now wanted the devil back because they were fighting so much more now, getting divorces, as they no longer had anyone to blame for their problems. I said I didn't want to be the devil and protested. Then my vision went black and I saw the silhouette of four distinct animal faces rushing toward me. The only one I remember is the goat." References Bradley Tepaske http://jungiananalyst.org/bradley_tepaske_phd.htm Bradley Tepaske’s publications can be found at: https://chironpublications.com/shop/sexuality-and-the-religious-imagination/ Poem: Sometimes a Wild God by Tom Hirons https://tomhirons.com/poetry/sometimes-a-wild-god
150 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 136 - REVIVING OUR CAPACITY TO FEEL: The Core of Jung’s Legacy
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. Sentimentality, a superficial expression of feeling, could be used to mask cruelty, including to animals. For Jung, relationship to the sacred was foundational, and was the true source of an ethical stance. He felt that a well-developed feeling function, the conscious development of empathy, and differentiated relatedness are at the heart of the human endeavor. The feminine principle of eros is central to his work. This Jungian Life explored von Franz’ insightful and moving summation of her understanding of Jung and his work in a presentation for the Washington, D.C. Jung Society.
62 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away?
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. Enthrallment and abhorrence mix in encounters with all that is alien and dispossessed. We face our own human monstrosities and the traumas that create them. We also meet the dark, nonhuman otherness of the collective unconscious; it threatens to possess us and can annihilate our sense of self. Whether we shudder in disgust, quiver in fright, or feel forbidden attraction, we are forced to more fully acknowledge the awful portent of ominous misfortune and confront the abyss. Only consciousness can break the spell. Dream "In my dream I was talking with my therapist on Zoom. The topic of our conversation wasn't clear, but I had the sense that my therapist kept misunderstanding what I was saying. He then did the "share screen" feature on Zoom to show me that he had been keeping a record on his computer of the different ways that I was wrong about who I thought I was. For example, he said that I thought that I was a kind person, but he had determined I was only kind 40% of the time. As he showed me this, a graph appeared across my face, and I had the sense that he had been spending our time together taking measurements of my face and wasn't listening to what I was saying. The dream then changed and I was outdoors standing next to a Native American man in traditional dress. The man was working with cloth. I approached him and he told me that he was working on creating a garment similar to the one that he was wearing that he was going to give as a gift to his son." References Greg Mogenson. God is a Trauma: Vicarious Religion and Soul-Making (Amazon) Lisa’s quotation from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche (Amazon).
62 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 134 - When Despair Prevails: Facing Suicidal Darkness
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? A supportive other can offer protection, options, and hope. Willingness to engage in mental health and medical treatment is critical, as is the development of a symbolic attitude: what value, belief, or ambition may need to die instead of being concretized as physical death? Similarly, what maturational task, sacrifice, or fate is asking to be met? Facing suicidal thoughts can bring the potential for new life, but when death occurs bereavement can be especially painful for families and friends. One of the tasks of mourning is accepting that each of us is ultimately, and sometimes tragically, responsible for our life. Dream I see a baby approximately a month old. It is my baby, and it has been crying a lot. I see that he is wet, so much so that his blanket is also wet. I am in horror as I try to understand why is he so wet, even with the diaper on. I wonder for how long did I not check on him. I change him, while doing [I see] that his leg is so fragile that if I hold it twists. I panic. I look at my hands and they are shaking. I get scared and criticize myself and wonder if I would be able to take care of him. In the end, he has been changed and cleaned and I am holding him in my arms, it's peaceful now and I feel much better. References Jan Bauer. Impossible Love: Or Why the Heart Must Go Wrong (Amazon).
75 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 133 - Adaptation: Meeting Life’s Demands
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. It entails developing a strong, flexible ego devoid of overly negative or idealistic beliefs about self and world, a progressive orientation, and ability to cope with disappointment. In the second half of life, the adaptive task is introverted, and consists of relating to and integrating contents of the unconscious. While most of us come to recognize and adapt to ego’s limited control over external-world actualities, realizing the autonomy of the inner world is less universal. Jung described this process in his memoir, Memories, Dreams, Reflections as his confrontation with the unconscious. This process of adaptation led him--and can lead us--to living in relationship to something larger, the Self. Dream I'm standing outside of a pool and my sons (6 and 10) are in the pool with my ex-husband. My mother is sitting near me. I realize I need to go to the bathroom and shout to my ex-husband to take care of our youngest son. As I turn my back at the pool I see a frogman, he has the body of a man and the head of a frog. He is sitting as a frog on the floor. I'm surprised and fascinated by it. His skin is dark blue with small light green and light blue freckles. His eyes are green. It is raining and he seems to be enjoying the water. I call my brother so he can see the creature; my brother appears as a little boy and the frogman sits at a table with my brother that asks him many questions about his origin. The frogman speaks to my brother while I go to the bathroom. When I return the frogman is sitting on a small stairway, like waiting for me. I see him and I ask him if I can touch his skin. He lets me touch his arm; it is shiny and beautiful like a night full of stars. I don't remember if I kiss him or hug him. He asks me to go with him and I tell him that I have other things to do. I walk down a street and find a busy avenue with heavy traffic. I have to cross to the other side but it seems hard, like a complex coordination of moves and traffic lights. I see the frogman walking on the other side of the avenue. References C.G. Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections (Amazon).
67 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 132 - Neurosis: Befriending Our Broken Places
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. It is important to hear the unconscious story ego has disallowed, welcome fantasies, fears, and instinctual life, and understand their symbolic meaning. Symptoms ask us to know ourselves as we really are so that we can live the life we are meant to be living. Jung says neurosis “must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.” The purpose of neurosis is to help us discover our purpose. Dream I am with my family. I go to the kitchen, as this isn't my family's home. I have broken glass inside my mouth; I open my mouth to try and get it out. There aren't many shreds but they are tiny and sharp, I can't get rid of everything, my tongue bleeds but the blood is curdled, dry, dark and thick. As I'm trying to remove the glass with both hands I realize I have broken glass on my lips, too. The shredded glass is inside both lips, and the blood is coagulated and my lips shrank. Now I have broken glass inside my nostrils; I can't breathe from my nose. I just can't, I breathe through my mouth. I bleed profusely but the blood is thick and dark, dry and slimy, it's coagulated. I pull it out like an endless slime that just won't come out all at once. I'm suffocating, no air gets through my nostrils, it's all blocked. I call my brother for help. I complain about it saying I can't breathe and I can't handle it alone. But he doesn't show up. Other things happen in the dream after this that I can't remember, but somehow I end up again in this kitchen with blocked nostrils - because of thick blood, not glass anymore - and now the thick blood has covered my chin, my neck; it's awful and I can't stop it. The blood is dark, slimy and dry (not shiny like slime). I call my dad for help. He appears in front of me. I am persuaded that he's the one who can help me. I wake up.
77 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 131 - Curiosity: The Inner Engine of Change
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? Curiosity can lead us into thrill seeking, but lack of it dulls our libido for life. Is it grandiosity, ambition, or impulsive desire that is tweaking our interest—or is curiosity leading us into purpose, service and the numinous? We need to be curious about curiosity: what are we enacting--and why? In the unrestrained theater of our dreams even the most disallowed outer-world scenarios are played out. Dreams can do much to satiate and integrate the shadowy curiosities of the inner world if we remember, record, and reflect on them. Dream I am in a dreary kind of industrial place full of single-story warehouse or farm type sheds/buildings - everything is grey. I don't relish being there but I am resigned to it. I look up again at the shed I'm standing next to and am surprised to see a beautiful mural has appeared on it's concrete apex (the triangular bit under the roof) - I don't remember exactly the image but it is full of blue and movement. I walk on to the next smaller row of sheds and in one I find skeletal figure of a man who is very sick and being tended to. The man is more skeleton than person, he has no eyes, only eye sockets for example, and is blackened/scorched: parts of his flesh seem about to fall away. I remember him as a famous actor, someone once very charismatic and good-looking, it is terrible to see him reduced to this. He is being moved from bed to chair by two nurse-type figures whom I do not see clearly. I go to help and hold his head - I am disgusted a little but also terrified that his head will come away in my hands if I am not careful enough. Once he is installed I move away. I find myself in another larger room next door where a group of people I do not know are gathered for a purpose I do not understand. I leave and go back out into the grey yard, but then feel an urge to reconnect with the man. I find another of these nurse-type figures who tells me he is with his wife and family now. I feel a little disappointed/left out but also glad for him that even in his repulsive/decrepit state he is surrounded by loved ones and is cared for. References:Giorgio Tricarico. Lost Goddesses: A Kaleidoscope on Porn. Verena Kast. Father-Daughter, Mother-Son: Freeing Ourselves from the Complexes that Bind Us. Far From Heaven (film with Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid).
73 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 130 - Sacred Symptoms: How the Numinous Heals
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).
79 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 129 - At Home in Our Bodies: Incarnation & Individuation
Jung teaches that soul and spirit have a home in a living body, the font of psyche’s images and means of their incarnation in the world. Embodiment is the ground of being, and engaging the tension between instinct and archetype shapes consciousness and character. Jung identified five instincts: creativity, movement, sexuality/eros, hunger in its many manifestations, and the ability to reflect and make meaning. If Pinocchio’s task was to humanize his instincts, much of modern man’s mission may be to re-establish vibrant connection with instinctual life. Jung says, “The archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives; it is the sea to which all rivers wend their way, the prize which the hero wrests from the fight with the dragon.” The rigorous refining of instinct through embodied, conscious action is the path toward wholeness. Dream I was waiting for a young man to pick me up for our second date, but he was late. I was in a park and there was a fair, and I ran into some of my childhood friends who were quite surprised about my date. So they started harassing me with questions about who he was and, mostly, why he was late. I didn't have his phone number, so I didn't know. I had with me a backpack, laptop, kindle, handbag, another bag and my stuff kept falling on the ground, and I had to pick it up over and over. It was raining hard, hours had passed and I decided to walk through the fair. There I bought a unicorn-shaped mug, that immediately fell off my hands and became ash as it hit the ground. I was tired and cold and went sitting under a large tree. In the tall grass, emerged a group of people who were shooting at wild ducks. Reference: Besel van der Kolk: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma (Amazon).
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