Monday, December 26, 2011


Jonathan Young will present on APRIL 20-21, 2012, in St. Louis:

Lecture: The Inner Life of Fairy Tales - The Ugly Duckling
Friday, April 20, 2012, 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. (2 Continuing Education Units)

Location: First Congrational Church UCC, 6401 Wyden, Clayton Missouri 63105

Fee: Friends - $15; Others $20; Full-time Students - $10

Workshop Through the Dark Forest - to Find Strength in Stories
Saturday, April 21, 2012 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (5 Continuing Education Units)
Location: First Congrational Church UCC, 6401 Wyden, Clayton Missouri 63105

Fee: Friends - $15; Others $20; Full-time Students - $10

Website: C.G.Jung Society of St. Louis  [For additional information or to register]
Phone: (314) 533-6809 (voicemail; we will return your call as needed)
Email: cgjungstl @

Jonathan Young, PhD is a psychologist who assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell for several years at seminars -- and was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. As a professor, Dr. Young created and chaired the Mythological Studies Department at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. His recent book is SAGA - Best New Writings on Mythology, volume 2.

Saturday, December 03, 2011


Robert Bosnak, a renowned Jungian Analyst, presented at the Jung in the Heartland Conference during the second week of November, 2011.  Dr. Bosnak, a Zurich-trained analyst, has developed a unique way of working with dreams, a process partially based on ways the Greeks utilized dreams in their practice of medicine.  His techniques involve helping the patient make connection with the somatic impact of dream images and feelings, a connection he believes can have a profound healing effect both for psychic and bodily ailments.  Over the four days of the conference, Dr. Bosnak demonstrated his approach to dreams with different attendees.  One of the demonstrations was with a woman suffering from necrosis of her knee tissue.  In prior sessions long-distance over Skype, Dr. Bosnak had worked with the woman in a process of "dream incubation" which involved focussing on dreams possibly related to her health issue in an attempt to use her dreams as an approach to healing.

My one concern about the rather elaborate techniques Dr. Bosnak uses is that he must give the patient detailed, specific direction in the working of the dream.  There is a power differential already present in any analyst-patient relations, and Dr. Bosnak's approach seems to heighten that differential.  However, my concern did not seem shared by any of the individuals Dr. Bosnak worked with.

Dr. Bosnak's presentations will be available by streaming over the internet or on DVD's from the St. Louis Jung Society soon.  For more information, go to

One of the more powerful and educational of his presentations involved a demonstration of "entrainment," the way analyst and patient can become aligned in a felt way in the shared energy field.  It is in this shared field that powerful transference and countertransference dynamics have a palpable presence.  It is out of this kind of "field effect" that healing of the psyche and of the body can occur.

Dr. Bosnak has recently joined the Santa Barbara Healing Sanctuary where his approach to dream incubation along with other alternative approaches to health and wellness are practiced.  For further information about the Sanctuary, go to:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


A friend of mine enrolled in a graduate program in psychology told me that the textbook for the personality theories class dedicated one page to Jungian Psychology.  Although probably the most comprehensive theorists in his field, Jung gets little attention in academic circles because he is not adequately "scientific."  Because my friend is primarily interested in Jung's theory and chose it as a topic for a major paper, she asked me for a list of resource material.  I am posting the bibliography here for those interested:


Adams, Michael Vannoy. The Mythological Unconscious, NY: 2001 

Bair, Deirdre. Jung: A Biography, Little, Brown, and Company, NY:

deLazlo, Violet (Ed.). The Basic Writings of C.G. Jung, Bollingen, Princeton: 1990

Douglas, Claire. The Woman in the Mirror, NY: Sigo Press, 1990

Jung, C.G. Dreams, Princeton University Press, Princeton: 1974

Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Vintage, NY: 1963

Miles, Jack. Christ, A Crisis in the Life of God, Knopf, NY: 2001

Miles, Jack. God: A Biography, Random House, NY: 1995

Singer, June. Boundaries of the Soul, Doubleday, Garden City, NY: 1972

Stein, Murray. Jung’s Map of the Soul, Open Court, Chicago: 1998

Stein, Murray. Jung's Treatment of Christianity, Chiron, Wilmette, IL: 1985

Whitmont, Edward C. The Symbolic Quest, Princeton University Press, Princeton: 1969 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


For an interesting interview with the director of "A Dangerous Method," the film about the controversial treatment of Sabina Spielrein by Jung and Freud, go to:

Much has been written about the relationship among this trinity of the early psychoanalytic movement.  Sabina Spielrein was the first patient whom Jung treated with Freud's methods of psychoanalysis.  Hers is a compelling story--emerging from a serious mental illness to become a renowned and brilliant analyst herself.

The nature of the personal friendship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud has also received a great deal of attention over the last century.  Some say the abrupt end of the relationship and the unresolved transference-countertransference dynamics between the two men are still apparent in the gulf that separates Jung's Analytic Psychology and the (more or less) Freudian Psychoanalysis practiced today.

I am looking forward to seeing this film and will post some thoughts about it after I do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis held its second Jung in the Heartland Conference, November 9-13, 2011, at Toddhall in Columbia, IL.  Presenters included Laurence Hillman, Jenny Yates, Lionel Corbett, and Robert Bosnak.  The theme of this conference was Portals to the Sacred II.

Last year the Jung Society sponsored a writing contest.  Winning entries were published in a book, Portals to the Sacred from a Jungian Perspective, edited by Christy Beckman.  The book was available at the conference where winners of the top three essays read their entries at a "Authors' Reception."  The book is available for purchase at

As in 2009, this major midwest conference was well attended.   Having all four presenters and several of the writing contestants present for all presentations, meals, and social events at the Toddhall Retreat Center made for a fine spirit.

Some eight hours of the conference presentations were videotaped and will be available on the Society's website ( in the near future.

Monday, November 07, 2011


You are invited to: A Gala Evening at Toddhall!
A Gala Evening at Toddhall
Jung in the Heartland: Portals to the Sacred II
Friday, November 11, 7-10 pm

This promises to be a fun, full evening, and it's
just a half hour drive from St. Louis!
Come for:
- The release of the first C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis publication:
Portals to the Sacred from a Jungian Perspective.
- The Writing contest winners reading their works.
- A world premiere performance of:
Gates In and Out: a Play of Transformation

- Book signing.
- Authors' wine and cheese reception.

The cost is just $15 for Friends and $20 for others.
Fulltime students are half price ($10).
Register through PayPal or pay at the door.
Register Online! 
If you don't register online but plan on attending, let us know you're coming!
Email with a note stating you'll be attending.

For a map to Toddhall as well as driving directions,
please click here.
The C.G. Jung Society of Saint Louis

P.O. Box 11724
St. Louis, Missouri 63105

Saturday, October 15, 2011



The question for this panel (of four St. Louis area Jungian Analysts) discussion, “What is rippling your waters?” is a good one for any of us to reflect on. It has surely provided a lot of reflection for me. The subject that has most gripped me in recent weeks has to do with states of consciousness. It is an extremely broad subject but one that lends itself to some brief discussion.

Of compelling interest to anyone is: what is the state of consciousness that I find myself in and why is it important to know that state? Examining one’s own consciousness is a questionable endeavor for we are apt to find what we want to find rather than what is more objectively true.

It seems to be the case that each of us has a conscience that is a state sometimes discernibly different from our usual mode of being within ourselves. Even the word ‘conscience’ in its derivation (con = with and scio = to know) implies a knowing with something other. The effect of conscience is that we feel a dissonance, often in the body, when our ego state or ego action strays too far from this implied other. This often vague dissonance can be a most helpful guide in any examination of consciousness

How does one examine one’s own consciousness, especially while necessarily and hopelessly stuck inside it? I think the answer to this question is one of the most important that Jungian Psychology attempts to provide. Jung thought that by taking a very long view, by studying what others in different epochs had to say about certain issues, one could develop an Archimedean point of view. By “Archimedean,” Jung meant in a psychological way what Archimedes expressed for physical reality: Give me a fulcrum sufficiently removed, and I can apply force that can move the earth.

When Jung studies and comments on works from Eastern philosophy, world mythologies, and from ancient alchemical texts, he is giving us an Archimedean point of view for modern consciousness. Even though modern individual experiences are short-lived and limited; images from the unconscious fleeting and illusory; and states of consciousness sporadic and discontinuous, Jung demonstrated that an aggregate view—gained from many texts from many eras—shows an unfolding process in which all humankind is involved.

This process is not random. It consists of regularly occurring images, motifs, and patterns that Jung called archetypal (from arche = ancient and typos = imprint). Our experiences of archetypes go primarily unnoticed even though archetypes are universal and everyday. In subtle but powerful ways they determine our patterns of behavior. For example, most of us have lived through one such pattern, having experienced the sadness, loss, and sterility of a Demeter state of consciousness when Persephone (that youthful, forward-looking younger daughter state) is snatched away.

Or consider the pattern of Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Aires. When Aphrodite and Aries have an illicit affair, Aphrodite’s husband Hephaestus makes a net and entraps them, exposing the affair. That ancient myth describes the universal pattern of a consciousness that unwittingly sets up a situation to make sure his/her questionable behavior is uncovered.

Our modern consciousness, unmoored from the underlying and continuous unconscious, can get stuck in one state or can transition unnoticed from state to state. Today we label someone bipolar when he/she swings from Demeter to Persephone states, often with dire consequences. Knowing the pattern we are living, that is to say making the pattern conscious, may lead us to make different choices. And bringing an underlying unconscious archetypal pattern into consciousness has a healing effect. It is as if we need story, especially our own story, to connect us with universal human experiences and emotions—this universal archetypal bedrock--and to end our modern states of alienation from ourselves and others.

Why this need, we can’t be certain, but we do know that without story an individual grows ill. Dreams, in some fashion, connect us with our ‘story.’ When not allowed to dream, an individual will become psychotic in a remarkably short time.

Dreams are a fine way for examining our conscious state. When we remember a dream, it is as if the Dream Giver (perhaps the Self in Jungian thought) has filmed a drama from a point of view removed, then says, “Here, take a look at yourself and your relationships with psychic figures and events from my perspective.” Any of you who have examined dreams no doubt have seen archetypal figures and motifs in them, perhaps Mother, Father, Home, the Journey, Conflict, the Child, the Automobile, Moon, Sun, Stars, Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Sacrifice, the Scapegoat, to name a few.

Why all this interest in states of consciousness? I think with some degree of self knowledge, one can learn to choose one’s state without identifying with it. When identified with a state, one is trapped, things are as they appear. As one ancient put it: We must “learn whence is sorrow and joy, and love and hate, and waking though one would not, and sleeping though one would not, and getting angry though one would not, and falling in love though one would not. And if thou shouldst closely investigate these things, thou wilt find God in thyself . . .” [Vol. 11, Para. 400]

Someone I know personally described disidentification this way: “When you look at your dreams, it’s amazing the information you get that’s different from your perception, information that gives you a different way of walking through life. You don’t have to go through it the same old way any more. I used to go strictly with my feelings that were raging around, would get stuck in them. Now I find that if I can go over them, process them, those feelings don’t hang around for days. I am unstuck then.”

Ultimately, there is a creative state of consciousness much to be desired. The best attempt I’ve seen to explain this creative state is from Toni Morrison:

“I’ve said I wrote The Bluest Eye after a period of depression, but the words ‘lonely, depressed, melancholy’ don’t really mean the obvious. They simply represent a different state. It’s an unbusy state, when I am more aware of myself than of others. The best words for making that state clear to other people are those words. It’s not necessarily an unhappy feeling; it’s just a different one. I think now I know better what that state is. Sometimes when I’m in mourning, for example, after my father died, there’s a period when I’m not fighting day-to-day battles . . . . When I’m in this state, I can hear things. . . . . It has happened other times . . . At that time I had to be put into it. Now I know how to bring it about without going through the actual event.” [Black Women Writers at Work, New York: Continuum, 1984, edited by Claudia Tate, p. 189-9]

You might ask a most practical and fundamental question: how do we self-examine, how do we discover precisely what our state of mind is? Here are some ways: (1) Paying attention to dreams and dream images, a topic I touched on earlier; (2) observing synchronicities that occur in our life; (3) watching for repeating patterns in our own behavior; (4) being mindful of the unintentional effects we have on others and on events; (5) mapping our own psyche for the complexes (which act like mine fields) that exist in our unconsciousness and that explode or erupt occasionally; (6) being more or less aware of the triggers that set off our complexes; (7) paying attention to our emotional state and its many variations and swings; (8) entertaining fantasies that can provide information to our ego state; (9) observing which characters we resonate with in literature and film; (10) noticing who gets under our skin and asking why; and (11) above all, having an awareness that ego consciousness is embedded in something larger than itself that exerts pressures, that influences attitudes and behaviors, and that has real affects.

In our shared interest in Jungian Psychology, we are making an additional effort. By relating to Jung’s ideas and the images he explores, by developing a relationship with them, we are in effect establishing a better relationship with the Unconscious. Or we are at least studying the map Jung provides for our own journey. The psyche, or the Unconscious, consists of images and patterns that picture vital activities which are full of meaning and purpose. When we do make the kinds of efforts I have described, it is as if a connection gets made from one’s small personal existence and experience to some underlying source of all existence and experience, and the individual has an ‘ah-ha’ realization that is satisfying and helpful. The ‘ah-ha’ is of the nature of the experience one gets when a mathematical proof “clicks”. There is a feeling of completeness and unshakeable certitude. It would seem to be case, the Unconscious also gets something of an ‘ah-ha’ when connections between consciousness and the Unconscious occur.

The word psyche is a Sanscrit word that also means “butterfly” so that in the word itself is an understanding of the experience of transformation or metamorphosis. If the ego is an epiphenomenonon of the psyche, that is to say, the ego is formed on the substratum of the archetypal bedrock and takes on its patterning, then the ego, too, will be subject to psychic transformations. However, without an awareness of the underlying nature of the psyche and its pattern of regular, somewhat predictable transformations, the ego will simply be dragged through the transformations and may experience primarily the suffering. Or the ego may simply try to numb itself to all experience, in which case the baby has definitely been thrown out with the bath water. With memory, knowledge, imagination, patience, and perseverance, an individual can better weather the suffering and storms that are part and parcel of transformation.


The C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis is holding its second major conference from November 10 - November 13, 2011.   For registration information, please visit     Information about this major conference includes:

Jung in the Heartland
2011 Conference: Portals to the Sacred II
November 10 - November 13, 2011
  Program Descriptions - Workshops - Accommodations - Registration
Tentative Schedule of Events

We are pleased to convene our second Jung in the Heartland conference, again bringing together gifted faculty to explore
portals to the sacred through presentations, workshops, dialogue and ritual. We welcome individuals from all fields.
Program Descriptions
Exploring Astrology and Your Dreams
7:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 9, through 3:00 p.m. Thursday, November 10

           You’re invited to join dreamers and stargazers to explore how your dreams can help unlock the mysteries contained in your natal chart. You will be introduced to the ten astrological archetypes and will receive your natal horoscope. To get a sense of how working with your inner archetypes strengthens your personal experience in the collective, Mr. Hillman will demonstrate how your birth chart and your dreams intertwine. He will also present a lecture during the main conference.

Laurence Hillman, M.B.A., M.C.M.
, born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland, began to study astrology at the age of sixteen. He is a full-time professional astrologer and specializes in helping his clients understand their deeper purpose. A force in the ongoing movement to merge astrology with depth psychology, his approach is practical yet full of metaphor and Jungian insight. He is the author of Planets in Play – How to Reimagine Your Life Through the Language of Astrology and the co-author of Alignments – How to Live in Harmony with the Universe.

Robert Bosnak, NCPsyA
Clinical Dream Incubation and Body —Theory and Demonstration

          In the beginning of Western medicine, from 500 B.C.– 500 A.D., dream-based medicine was practiced everywhere. In the 21st century, studies on placebo have led to a revival of dream incubation, during which a particular issue is intentionally somatized so it can be felt acutely in the body. The material derived from the responding dreams, when worked in an embodied fashion, creates a powerful healing response. During the week prior to the conference, a volunteer will participate in an incubation experience, and the resulting dreams will be worked in front of the conference participants.

Robert Bosnak, NCPsyA
, is a Dutch Jungian psychoanalyst and diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich in Switzerland. He pioneered a radically new method of dreamwork, based loosely on the work of C.G. Jung, especially on Jung’s technique of active imagination and his studies of alchemy. Mr. Bosnak’s books include A Little Course in Dreams, which was translated into 12 languages, Christopher’s Dreams: Dreaming and Living with AIDS and Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming.

Jung in Dialogue with the Soul: Is Analytical Psychology a New Religion?

          The Red Book records dialogues between Jung and his soul that led Jung to write 12 years later, “We stand on the threshold of a new spiritual epoch; from the depths of man’s own psyche new spiritual forms will be born.” If Analytical Psychology is indeed an emerging form of spirituality, what does that look like in practice and how does it compare with traditional religious forms? We will consider that the practice of depth psychology serves as a contemporary form of spiritual direction. Because the Self acts as a blueprint for the individuation of the personality, there can be no firm distinction between our spirituality and our psychology or between spiritual and psychological problems.
Lionel Corbett, M.D., trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and as a Jungian analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. His primary interests are in the religious function of the psyche, especially the way in which personal religious experience is relevant to individual psychology. Dr. Corbett is a core faculty member of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. His written work includes The Sacred Cauldron: Psychotherapy as a Spiritual Practice, The Religious Function of the Psyche, and Psyche and the Sacred.
Jenny Yates, Ph.D.
The Mysteries of Eleusis

           The Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated for 2,000 years in Greece, honoring a female trinity of Demeter, Persephone, and Hecate. We shall explore what can be known of these mysteries from the classical Hymn to Demeter by Homer, archeological excavations at Eleusis, and the art depicting the public part of the ceremonies. We shall also look at how the unconscious appropriates the unknown deepest part of the ritual, viewing it as a model for understanding the stages of man’s anima or soul development and as an archetypal model for the Female Self.

Jenny Yates, Ph.D.
, is currently a “Visiting Distinguished Scholar” at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she teaches Jungian psychology and religion. A diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich in Switzerland, she practices as a Jungian analyst with alternative medicine practitioners. For twenty-seven years, she was a professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wells College where she chaired the Division of Humanities and the Religion major. Dr. Yates is the author of four books, most recently Jung on Death and Immortality.

2010 Writing Contest: Opening Portals through the Spoken Word
          Many portals to the sacred were explored in the entries submitted to the 2010 C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis Writing Contest. Conference participants have the unique chance to hear the authors of the winning entries read their works and to attend the premier performance of Gates In and Out: A Play of Transformation. Steve Gunn, Boulder, CO, will read “Over the Rainbow” (1st place); Deborah Fausch, Oak Park, IL, “Saffron Dreaming” (2nd place); and Ken Schmitz, Cottage Grove, MN, “Why the Portal to the Sacred is so Often Closed: A Grail Perspective” (3rd place). Also a contest entry, the short, often funny, play is written by Lola Wilcox, directed by Chuck Wilcox, both from Denver, CO, and produced by Wilcox Overland Stage Company, which hosts the Theatres of Myth and Imagination. In addition to the Colorado theater group, the performance features actors from St. Louis.
Saturday Afternoon Workshops: 
In addition to the presentations listed above you will have a choice of 2 out of 4 sessions.
Jenny Yates or Lawrence Hillman - 1:30-3:00
Robert Bosnak or Lionel Corbett - 3:30-5:00
Lawrence Hillman - The Breaking In Of The Untamable - An Astrological Explanation Of The Emerging Zeitgeist   
           Astrologers these days are getting inundated with questions that can be summed as, "What the heck is going on?!" This lecture/slideshow puts our times and the powerful manifestations we are witnessing into a comprehensive, meaningful and optimistic perspective. If you want to know what all these changes and collapses mean, what is emerging on an archetypal level, what is here to stay and what is disappearing, don't miss this lecture!
Jenny Yates - Details to come
Robert Bosnak - Details to come
Lionel Corbett - Details to come
Accommodations and Seminar Site
Toddhall Retreat and Conference Center
320 Todd Center Drive
Columbia, IL 62236 

            Toddhall Retreat and Conference Center is located on the bluffs overlooking Columbia, Illinois, conveniently close to metropolitan Saint Louis and only 45 minutes from the airport. Nestled in the woods, Toddhall offers beautiful scenic views in a relaxing and peaceful setting. This is truly a “get away” place — a haven for study, reflection, and renewal. Wild turkey, deer, and a wide variety of birds are only some of the natural elements you will find. Take time to meander along the meditative labyrinth, visit the butterfly garden and natural prairie-grass preserve or walk the wilderness trail.
            Spacious and simply furnished, each room has a private bath and individually controlled thermostat, although electronics are notably and purposefully absent, rooms have wireless internet access. All linens are provided. Hearty, home-cooked meals are served buffet style in the dining room. Vegetarians are easily accommodated. Rooms and buildings at the Conference Center are non-smoking.
Scenic images from Toddhall:
Accommodations and site facilites:
Alternate Lodging:Hampton Inn - St Louis Columbia
(1.6 miles from Toddhall)
165 Admiral Trost Road
Columbia, IL 62236 US

Super 8 - Waterloo Il
(4.7 miles from Toddhall)
112 Warren Drive
Waterloo, IL 62298 US

Conference Fees:
Conference registration includes all meals, beginning with supper on November 10

Early Bird Registration
Waives $50 Registration Fee
Must Be Received by August 15

Friends (member) registration:+$459
Non-Member registration:$499
Room double occupancy (per person):$110
Room single occupancy:$265

Regular Registration
After August 15
Includes $50 Registration Fee
Must Be Received by November 1

Friends (member) registration:+$510
Non-Member registration:$565
Room double occupancy (per person):$110
Room single occupancy:$265

Pre-Conference Event with Laurence Hillman, November 9-10,
Includes Wednesday dinner, Thursday breakfast and lunch

Friends (member) registration:+$139
Non-Member registration:$159
Room double occupancy (per person):$37
Room single occupancy:$89

+ Current Friends status validated prior to acceptance of registration to ensure correct registration fee.Friends Membership
Discounts valid to all events
September 2011–September 2012:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Jack Miles has written two books that are extremely valuable for amplifying our understanding of God and god-image. The books are GOD: A BIOGRAPHY (Random House, 1995) and CHRIST, A CRISIS IN THE LIFE OF GOD (Knopf, 2001). In the two books Miles treats the God presented as a personality who is telling his story as a way of expressing who and what he is--just as any human does when he/she tells his/her story. It's a simple approach but one that yields up interesting insights into the nature and character of "God." I enjoy these two books because they have provided (and continue to provide) me a way of becoming familiar with biblical themes and stories that I find easier going that reading scripture.

The personality, nature, and character of the god and god-image that emerge from Miles' approach provide context and understanding that is helpful for the depth psychologist. The phenomenon of god that is revealed more nearly approximates the background tapestry of the unconscious of moderns than does the theology of the all-good, omniscient, and all-powerful god described in the belief system of the ordinary church-goer today. Modern people who turn to depth psychology for self-understanding will recognize in these two books the discontinuities between the god of their beliefs and the god who makes himself felt through experiences of the unconscious. The former is often an intellectual construct while the latter is a reality.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Here is a link to the St. Louisan website where there is a short video about sacrifice:

There is information on the video about the C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis program on Sunday, September 18, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, at the First Congregational Church UCC in Clayton, MO. There is more information and the opportunity to register for the event at The topic of sacrifice is much in the air these days as we revisit the events of September 11, 2001.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Workshop: Sacrifice as a Theme in Psychotherapy Presented by Cheryl Lawler, M.S.W., L.C.S.W and Rose Holt, M.A.

 Sunday, September 18th, 2011, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. (2 CEUs) First Congregational Church UCC 6501 Wydown, Clayton, MO 63105

 Fee: Friends - $30; Others $35; Full-time Students $17.50

 The Jung Society is offering a third presentation in which two psychoanalysts, one from the psychoanalytic community and one Jungian, will offer their perspectives on the theory and practice of psychotherapy. The subject of this program is the role of sacrifice in the therapeutic process. Cheryl Lawler and Rose Holt will each present their perspectives and thoughts about the human experience of sacrifice. What is sacrifice and what is sacrificed? Is sacrifice necessary? If so, why? How does sacrifice manifest in unconscious ways that affect conscious functioning in the individual? During this afternoon program, there will be ample time for questions and answers.

 Cheryl Lawler is past president, and currently training and supervising analyst as well as faculty member of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. She is practicum supervisor, Washington University School of Social Work, a private practitioner, and author of Intimacy Without Sacrifice: Toward a New Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexual Love.

 Rose Holt is a Jungian analyst in private practice in St. Louis. She serves as advisory analyst to the C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis and is on the faculty of the Chicago Analyst Training Program. She has written many articles and taught numerous courses about Analytical Psychology.

 To register online, go to or click on the St. Louis Jung Society Website link on the left side of this page.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The following is an essay to be published in the September-October issue of "The Pathfinder":

Shall We Gather at the River?

The C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis is preparing for its second Jung in the Heartland Conference, November 10-13, 2011. This year the theme is again “Portals to the Sacred.” [Visit for conference details.] In this essay, a precursor to the conference, I want to explore the idea of the sacred by relating it to the notion of the “source.” I will first consider the meaning of the term “source” scientifically and psychologically, then show that we eventually come to a limit of understanding that forces us either to shut down our thinking or to take into account the sacred and the numinous. [By “sacred” I mean anything that evokes veneration from us, and by “numinous,” something exhibiting the power of a divinity.]

To consider what the source refers to in a scientific way, let’s turn to the use of analogy. In the evolutionary development of sight, the eye has been conditioned by light and uses light in its functioning. Without light, there would be no sight, and without sight it is difficult even to imagine light, though it would still exist. Eye and sight have a mutually interdependent relationship. This is the more commonly held view of evolutionary theory. I imagine this view might even be acceptable to creationists who could argue that God works in mysterious and marvelous ways. With either explanation, we come to an unanswerable question: though light might be the source, whence the light? Though we cannot answer that question, we would never deny the existence of light. It is a fact.

Continuing our analogy, it is easy to imagine intelligence having a parallel line of development. Might there be something like universal mind that has developed human intelligence with the interplay of the two similar to light and the eye? Though we can accept the light and eye analogy, the leap to universal mind and human intelligence stretches us beyond intellect to imagine something larger than itself. It is at this juncture that some, unwilling to shut down their thinking, arrive at the shores of the sacred and the numinous. And that brings us to psychology.

In the Jungian view we entertain the hypothesis that there is something like “universal mind,” called the collective unconscious in Jungian psychological theory. An individual consciousness arises from the unconscious and owes its existence to it. Individual consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the unconscious; that is to say, it emerges from the substratum of the unconscious and takes on a structure similar to the unconscious.

Of course, in the development of ego consciousness, conditions of time, place, parenting, education, culture, etc., are also factors of influence over that development. These factors give rise to the personal unconscious, those elements of consciousness unique to the personal history of the individual. Even so, the universal characteristics of the collective unconscious play a huge role. Those characteristics consist of patterns of behavior, archetypes (arche = ancient and typos = imprint) common to everyone. Some of those archetypal patterns are mother, father, journey, birth, rebirth, etc. Every human being has a share in these patterns. Every human being is, more or less, shaped by these patterns.

What can happen (and when it does, it usually happens at midlife) is that the mismatch between the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious creates a felt dissonance in ego consciousness. When this dissonance reaches sufficient amplitude that archetypal elements from the collective unconscious break through and begin to impact ego consciousness, the disturbance in the individual’s life cannot be ignored. A more or less crisis situation develops. This condition creates certain symptoms—restlessness, dissatisfaction, perhaps physical ailments, and undifferentiated but very real suffering. Critical questions arise, the most common being, in the words of the Peggy Lee song, “Is this all there is?”

A psychology that denies the existence of the collective unconscious will treat the symptoms. In terms of my analogy it would be like going to an opthamologist who looks only at the condition of the eye even though the problem may be that the person is wearing blinders. A Jungian-oriented therapist, on the other hand, will focus on helping the individual explore his/her symptoms, strive to understand the dissonance by exploring elements of the personal unconscious that are at odds with the collective patterns of the deep unconscious, and work with the individual to build that critical bridge of understanding between ego consciousness and the collective unconscious. Presumably the therapist, having undergone a depth analysis him/herself, will approach this work with deep empathy and compassion and will know that the attention-getters in the process are those sacred and numinous elements that appear. He/she also knows that experiences of the numinosum change ego consciousness.

The techniques of this work vary. They include careful attention to and exploration of emotions and affects; the living conditions of the individual; his/her relationships; dream images, motifs, and patterns; and the life story. Influential elements from the personal unconscious are explored and understood more fully. The individual examines troublesome psychological defense mechanisms that no longer serve for adaptation so that they can be adjusted or jettisoned and replaced with more mature and appropriate mechanisms.

The therapist keeps in mind the notion of entelechy, the idea that each living organism has inbuilt a blueprint of development attended by life forces that are continually at work to further that development. In Jungian Psychology, we call this force “individuation,” the universal urge for a person to become a unique and undivided individual. However, there clearly are also at work in the unconscious antilibidinal forces that hinder development. It is sometimes the situation that only the therapist can be the tip-weight in the work toward individuation, in a win over antilibidinal forces.

With continuing depth work, archetypal patterns emerge, perhaps THE pattern that most fits the individual, one that affords an optimal line of development. At this level of the work, the client experiences a feeling of “coming home,” an understanding of “Who I am and why I am living this life.” Jung aptly called this experience “amor fati,” a love of one’s own fate.

Notice that this work in a depth analysis proceeds from an experiential basis with no reliance upon religion or dogma or belief. The client need not even entertain the hypotheses of the collective unconscious or individuation, though the therapist must. What is required is that the troubled individual must take him/herself seriously; resist discounting symptoms and seeking easy, quick fixes; and have the courage to see him/herself and his/her circumstances realistically. He/she must follow an inner labyrinthian path made up of elements both rational and irrational. The work is difficult and requires no end of patience from both client and therapist. There are, thankfully, sufficient rewards and consolations along the way to make the endeavor worthwhile. A secret, hidden happiness is often a byproduct of the work.

And that brings us back to the sacred and the numinous. The rewards and consolations often have what can only be called a sacred or numinous cast. This individuation journey, in many ways the real task of life, brings us up against what we cannot understand, cannot know, and cannot ignore. The psychologist and the theologian, the therapist and the client, perhaps on very different paths, arrive at the same place, bowing before something greater than themselves, acknowledging both the sacred and the numinous.

Rose F. Holt
August 4, 2011

[Rose F. Holt, M.A., is a Jungian Psychoanalyst in private practice in St. Louis. She serves as advisory analyst to the board of the C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis and as a training analyst for the Jung Institute of Chicago. She has taught many courses on the topic of Jungian Psychology.]

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis is bringing Jean Bolen, Jungian Analyst and author, to St. Louis on July 8 and 9, 2011. Dr. Bolen's topic on Friday evening will be "Trees and Tree People: Saving Ourselves, Saving Our Planet." Her topic for the Saturday workshop will be "Grail, Goddesses, Circles, and the Sacred Feminine." For details about these events, visit

Thursday, May 05, 2011


This is a talk I gave at the Jung Institute of Chicago Founder's Day event at Loyola University on March 19, 2011:


Jung began his RED BOOK journaling in December of 1913, less than a year before the outbreak of WWI. That war shook the world as none before. And that war marked only the beginning of a trying and turbulent century--terrifying in the horrors it would contain.

We have entered a second century of turbulent times, and we seek in any place we can for help in navigating it. We can find help in this RED BOOK, though, as Ann [Ulanov, the first speaker of the day] said, to take it up is to enter into our own turbulence, into our own chaos and confusion. Swimming along with Jung in this fascinating work, seeing through his eyes, learning from his experiences seems to set up a parallel process in us. We seek not to imitate Jung but to explore our own interior and acquaint ourselves with our own complexities.

Today I want to share some insights I have gained from studying the book, discussing it in a small group over several weeks, attending other programs about the book, and turning Jungʼs ideas and images over and over in my mind. My immersion in the work has indeed jarred my being and plunged me into considerable chaos and confusion. Taking part in this program today is one way of sorting through my feelings and reactions, coming more to terms with a certain level of turbulence I find in myself.
Jung spent his life making sense of the experiences he describes in THE RED BOOK and translating that sense into scholarly, scientific language. Our rational understanding needs to be organized around a scaffolding of logic and reason. However, our experiences and our emotional lives often make a mockery of logic and reason, seeming to be at their very root irrational in nature. Nowhere is this divide more apparent than in our understanding of gods and religions. That is the area of this book and Jungʼs subsequent elaboration of it that I am most keenly interested in.

According to Shamdasani, there are two running themes in the book: One theme is how Jung regains his soul and overcomes the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. A second theme is how, by doing his, he enables the rebirth of a new image of God in his soul and develops a new worldview in the form of a psychological and theological cosmology.

A third theme in the book, and the one I will begin with here, is that of the inherited complex.

So, there are these three interrelated themes I want to talk about:

First, THE RED BOOK can encourage us to recognize and make use of our inherited complexes.

Second, Jung regains his soul and overcomes the contemporary malaise of spiritual alienation. He does this partially through active imagination. Jungʼs process as he recorded it in THE RED BOOK can show us something about the development of personality over a lifetime, what he called individuation.

Third, Jung makes possible the rebirth of a new image of God in his soul and develops a new worldview in the form of a psychological and theological cosmology. As he does this, he reveals to us the relationship between the god image and the structure of personality.

That THE RED BOOK can encourage us to make use of our inherited complexes came out very clearly to me in a RED BOOK study group in St. Louis last Fall. We ended our last meeting with an active imagination with Dr. Jung, that is, with the spirit of Dr. Jung, in the spirit of Dr. Jung. Ten of us were gathered around a small table, RED BOOKS set aside, a figure of Jung on the table, and the lights dimmed. We asked Dr. Jung to comment on a particular aspect of his work and our study of it. And he did! I will only share his message to me. First, he said with a hearty laugh, “So, you want to understand in a few short months what took me decades to decipher!” I had to admit guilt to that charge. Then he went on to answer my question to him which was about his statements in THE RED BOOK that the dead seek to live their unlived lives through the living.

He said: “I first came upon this notion indirectly when I was doing my work on the association test and complexes. That was early, of course, during the time I still thought the psyche was an object for my study--not vice versa. Later in my confrontation with the unconscious I came to realize that complex theory is but an abstraction of the reality. The reality is that the dead try to live out their unlived lives through the living, and the mechanism for that is the complex. That is why I urge everyone to live as fully as possible, otherwise they pass on a debt that must be paid by someone else. And, of course, if these inherited impulses are not realized consciously, they will be lived unconsciously in oneʼs outer life.”

Jung proved the existence of complexes in the unconscious and popularized the term. We all know about complexes from everyday experience. They are those parts of our personality that surprise us, cause us to behave in unexpected and often troubling ways, and give rise to endless complications in our relationships. Who has not said, “I donʼt know what got into me!”

My question for Dr. Jung arose out of a realization I have dimly felt but more fully understood when I studied THE RED BOOK. My paternal grandmother suffered a depression after the birth of her third son in 1900. She spent the rest of her life, over 45 years, in an asylum for the insane. In some strange way that I have long felt, I have been the benefactor of her unlived life, and Iʼve owed a debt to it.

Although I never met this woman, she has played a profound role in my development. She first appeared in a dream some 20-plus years ago. That dream started my reflections about her and her life. What did she learn in those 45 years? What does she have to teach me? She learned with certitude limits, galling limits, placed on her existence by ignorance, a rule-bound church, and medical care that even for the times was largely quackery. She, that is her spirit, what I call my grandmother complex, rises up in me when she/I feel galling limits, when my consciousness is too confined by outside “authorities,” or when I abdicate my responsibilities by relying too heavily upon outside authority.

What she did not know and had to learn from me is that some authority is actually benevolent and quite helpful. And, if Jung is right, that an archetype lies at the core of a complex, then that archetype is the Great Mother. That archetype has also been too long confined by chafing limits, by a patriarchal collective consciousness.

Jungʼs theory about complexes satisfies my need for intellectual understanding. My personal experience, his statements in THE REDBOOK--and in my active imagination with him--that the dead seek to live unlived parts through us-- reached beyond my intellect and convinced me at another level of my being. Is there scientific proof for such a notion? Of course not. Is it reasonable? No. But then much of reality and life do not accord with reason. My subjective experience convinces me completely.

Turning now to my second them--how Jung regains his soul, overcomes his spiritual alienation, and shows us something about the development of personality over a life-time:

Jung began his experimentation with fantasy, his confrontation with the unconscious, on December 12, 1913, and he began to journal intensely at that time. Five days later he had his “Siegfried Dream,” a dream that held great significance for him. He discusses that significance in THE RED BOOK when he talks about guilt, sacrifice, and the necessity to kill the hero. Decades later he recounts the dream in MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS. Jung came to understand that killing the hero meant deposing the first function--thinking in his case. Philemon first appears in the “Black Books” on January 27, 1914. Jung understood later that Philemon represented superior, objective insight, insight unavailable to a consciousness dominated by one primary function.

Most of us develop one primary function in the first decades of our lives, and that function may serve us well for a long time. That was the case with me. Driven by the Sputnik spirit of my times, I developed--indeed, was strongly encouraged to develop-- my first function, thinking. I can personally attest to the suffering and pain involved when the primary function no longer serves adequately but refuses to go quietly. The primary function is a creation of the personality that can pass out of control of its creator. The same can be said of ego consciousness itself when it is unmoored from the unconscious substratum from which it arose.

If you have read the section of the book about Jungʼs meeting with Izdubar, another important figure for him, you have a sense of Jungʼs coming to understand the limits of scientific, rational knowledge and the need for something more. As with the other figures Jung meets, he learns a great deal from Izdubar. You can read this passage as Jungʼs making conscious his third function, intuition, in his encounter with the giant. Through the rebirth of Izdubar, Jung experienced a renewed god-image. He writes: “The renewed God signifies a renewed attitude, that is, a renewed possibility for intensive life, a recovery of life, because psychologically God always denotes the greatest value, thus the greatest sum of the libido, the greatest intensity of life, the optimum of psychological lifeʼs activity.”

And my third theme--that Jung makes possible the rebirth of a new image of God in his soul and develops a new worldview in the form of a psychological and theological cosmology. As he does this, he reveals to us the relationship between the god image and the structures of personality.

Understanding the personality and the god-image go together in Jungʼs experience and thought. If THE RED BOOK has one overarching theme, it is this: Jungʼs seeking to understand the secret of the personality, especially his own personality. In MDR, very late in his life, he wrote: “. . . from my eleventh year I have been launched upon a single enterprise which is my ʻmain business.ʻ My life has been permeated and held together by one idea and one goal: namely, to penetrate into the secret of the personality. Everything can be explained from this central point, and all my works relate to this one theme.”

When Jung began his confrontation with the unconscious, he largely withdrew from his outer life, resigning prestigious positions and drastically limiting the field of his activities. That Jung withdrew from his very successful outer life probably seemed like craziness to many. At age 39 he looked like a man who had it all. What he had to reckon with in himself was the Biblical question: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?” Jung set out on an inner journey in search of his soul. THE RED BOOK is an account of that journey.

Jung was born into a time in history when reason was God. All the old gods had been declared dead. For those of you who study Jung, you know he read and lectured extensively on Nietzsche and his work. Shamdasani has included a wonderful footnote in THE REDBOOK in “Scrutinies,” Footnote #91. “To Nietzscheʼs statement (God is Dead), Jung noted, “. . . it would be more correct to say: ʻHe has discarded our image, and where will we find him again?ʼ”

Shamdasani is citing a paragraph from Jungʼs PSYCHOLOGY AND RELIGION, CW 11. My Volume 11 doesnʼt read that way, so this must be a case where Shamdasani retranslated Jung for THE RED BOOK. His retranslation is more direct and, to my mind, renders more accurately Jungʼs thinking about the problem of God in modernity. God is not dead, but has rejected our image of God. Where will we find God again?

In the exploration of his own personality, his own interiority, Jung doesnʼt simply accept the irrational he encounters in his active imaginations. Over and over we find Jung disagreeing with and arguing with the figures he meets in the unconscious, but also learning from them. He does not abandon his conscious stance but rather comes to his understanding and insights in dialogue with the figures. Much later he will write that coming to terms with the unconscious requires a fight between equals. Consciousness must have its say, and the unconscious must have its say. In his confrontation Jung realized there is much in the unconscious that is not wise and should not be accepted at face value.

Jung shows that the way beyond science is through the symbol. The ability to entertain and explore symbols is key to both development of personality and transformation of psychic libido. Perhaps our ability to create symbols is limited, but our ability to make of ourselves larger vessels for entertaining and understanding symbols seems to be limitless.

Jung depicts his own individuation process and elaborates the concept as a general psychological schema. By reconciling his No.1 and No. 2 personalities, Jung was able to reconcile the spirit of the time with the spirit of the depths. Jungʼs No. 1 personality was a successful man of the world who bought into the values and mores of the day. His No. 2 personality was far more complex, was in touch with other realms, with other times, and with his soul. His No. 1 personality was rational, scientific, rooted in the enlightened times, and dominated by his primary function. His No. 2 personality was irrational, of the ages, utterly incomprehensible to his No. 1 self.

This work of reconciliation between the spirit of the times and the spirt of the depths became the leitmotif of his subsequent scholarly work along with the full elaboration of the individuation process.

What is it about Jungian Psychology and now THE RED BOOK that so many of us find helpful? They offer the possibility for renewal, for living more intensely, for changing difficult and poorly adjusted attitudes. Jung has provided a methodology and map for those of us who seek soul, search for purpose and meaning, yearn to connect with the divine, and suffer the divisions in our own natures.

What can we do to make Jungʼs information in THE RED BOOK and his other writing work for us? If we as individuals suffer a split in our personality, do we know it? And if we do, how to we heal it? To borrow a phrase from another realm: Jung provides us with “actionable intelligence.” He states that to be truly healed and whole, we must develop a religious attitude. But Jung has a nuanced definition for “religion”

In a lengthy letter to a Pastor Tanner dated 12 February 1959, Jung explains his psychological definition for the word “religion.ʼ” First he provides a definition the ancients used: religio derived from relegere or religere, “to ponder, to take account of, to observe (e.g., in prayer).”

Then he gives the definition the Church Fathers used: religio from religare, “to bind, to reconnect,” which speaks to relationship with God. Thirdly, Jung writes of a contrasting conception that was “current in pagan antiquity: the gods are exalted men and embodiments of ever-present powers whose will and whose moods must be complied with. Their numina must be carefully studied, they must be propitiated by sacrifices . . . . Here religion means a watchful, wary, thoughtful, careful, prudent, expedient, and calculating attitude towards the powers that be . . . .

Finally, Jung provides his own thinking about the meaning of “religion:”

“By ʻreligion,ʼ then, I mean a kind of attitude which takes careful and conscientious account of certain numinous feelings, ideas, and events and reflects upon them.” This is the attitude so well exemplified in THE RED BOOK.

Jungʼs notions about the psychological meaning of a religious attitude are more akin to that of the ancients and pagan antiquity than to that of the Church Fathers. However, in his view that ego consciousness can connect with its unconscious substratum and be nourished by it, Jung is closely aligned with the early Christian thinkers. Some individuals and some of modern Christianity have lost the ability to make that vital connection. Jungʼs psychology offers a new way--new "wineskins" as the times require.

It will also help us to remember that when Jung talks about religion and God, he is not referring to a god of dogma or tradition or even of belief.

In a 1952 letter he wrote: “I find that all my thoughts circle around God like the planets around the sun, and are as irresistibly attracted by Him. I would feel it to be the grossest sin if I were to oppose any resistance to this force.” Jungʼs god is up close and personal. In another letter, also from late in his life, he wrote: God “is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse.”

I have worked with numerous people in analysis for whom the problem of God is not a problem at all. Their God is removed and remote, so transcendent as to be completely invisible, unrelated, and without impact. Their problems are with those troublesome, under-the-surface factors that affect their moods, their relationships, their work, their feelings about others and about themselves. In other words, all those things that upset their subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of their lives for better or worse. Through careful attention to moods, affects, dreams, fantasies, unintended life events, numinous experiences, and invisible influences that are only registered indirectly, sometimes these people have developed a “religious attitude” in the sense Jung means.

Sometimes these people discover or give birth to a god-image in which God becomes up close and personal, around which their consciousness revolves as a planet around the sun. They experience a new zest for life, a renewed attitude. Stated like this, this work toward wholeness looks straightforward and relatively simple. It is anything but! It is challenging, difficult, disorienting, often gut- wrenching. It requires patience, endurance, courage, sacrifice, and honesty. The right way is fraught with wrong turns and blind alleys, and the actual path is not known but must be created by walking it. There are, however, sufficient rewards and consolations along the way to make it worthwhile.

If we take seriously Jungʼs prescriptions for wholeness, that is, for working toward our own individuation, our task is to do what Jung did. If we find we suffer from “loss of soul,” we must go in search of our soul. If we feel the demands of those who have gone before us, we must--to the degree that we can--fulfill those demand. We have to have our own “confrontation with the unconscious” and come to terms with it. As Jung tells us, we cannot achieve wholeness through an imitation of Christ. And as Ann has said, we cannot do any of this by imitating Jung. It has to be our task and our way. From my vantage point, this journey toward wholeness is a lifelong work and a goal which gives an individual life meaning and purpose. The work at reconciliation of consciousness and the unconscious is the prescription for our own turbulent times.

I will end with these words of Coleridge which apply so aptly to Jung:

He looked at his own Soul with a Telescope.
What seemed all irregular,
he saw and showed to be beautiful Constellations;
and he added to the Consciousness hidden worlds within worlds.

Rose F. Holt March 17, 2011 copyright