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: