Saturday, August 29, 2015



     The C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis will soon release a book of the finest essays from the Society’s third writing contest, this one on the theme of “Honoring the Altar of the Earth.”  The book will be available at the Jung in the Heartland Conference - “The Altar of the Earth” to be held at King’s House Retreat Center September 10-13, 2015.
     When Kathryn Stinson, the editor of the book, invited me to write a blurb for the back cover, I offered this:

     Jung’s view was that one could not be reconciled with one’s own deepest nature without becoming reconciled with Nature itself.  These essays illustrate ways in which the authors, finely attuned to their own delicate and precious natures, are also finely attuned to our exquisitely-balanced Earth.  Civilization requires sufficient numbers of such individuals to save itself, and in doing so, save our small home in the great cosmos. 

     This short statement leads to critical questions.  What does it mean to become reconciled with one’s own deepest nature?  How does one effect reconciliation?  For people steeped in religion, the tenets and dogma of their tradition provide working answers.  Others, for whom religious institutions no longer hold value or provide answers, may not bother to ask, or even to know, the questions.  Yet reconciliation, though an old-fashioned notion, can be a pressing need that arises from one’s deepest nature and requires some kind of response.
     Often an individual’s first response to vague feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction is a combination of denial and repression.  He or she tries to soldier on, to pretend nothing is awry.  In extreme cases the result of so much energy invested in defenses that do not work is extreme ennui or depression.  What is behind such disturbing feelings is an inner force for fuller development that initially seems hostile because it is often foreign and upsetting to the status quo.
     At the onset of this inner urge from one’s truest and deepest nature, an individual may have threatening and difficult dreams, even nightmares.  Repressed unconscious contents presenting themselves and seeking reconciliation with waking consciousness appear as people breaking into one’s home, threatening animals, angry teachers, condemning or indifferent parental figures, or situations in which windows and doors cannot be kept shut.  Another recurring motif is the lost wallet, purse, keys, car, baggage.  Other common dreams feature dismemberment motifs and are accompanied by feelings of being torn apart by inner conflict.
     These contents from the deep can also be life-giving and expanding.  The dreams may show the dreamer finding new wings of his/her house, discovering hidden tunnels, entering fascinating caves or ancient temples, opening ancient texts, meeting wisdom figures.
     One’s deepest nature (the “Self” in Jungian terms) seems to want to tear away parts of the individual’s self-identity yet at the same time preserve essential elements and add to them.  It is as if the “sculptor” of one’s being molds delicate material to one’s armature structure while carving away at existing casting, all at the same time.  To the individual experiencing this process, it is disconcerting, disturbing, and at times terrifying. There are also moments of joy, of numinous insight, of secret delight.  Mostly, it is a set of experiences that can hardly be communicated to anyone, a secret one cannot disclose.
     This is the painful and exhilarating process C. G. Jung calls “individuation,” a word that means “not divided.”  It is the movement of the whole person toward reconciliation of consciousness with the unknown and with the seemingly unknowable backdrop of the unconscious. Jung’s lasting gift is a rough guide through this difficult but rewarding process which apparently ends only in death.
     The value of immersing oneself in and tending to this long-term careful process of development is that one becomes an instrument for harmony, a sort of tuning fork of nature.  If one feels horribly awry within one’s being, the first questions to answer are:  Where might I be at odds with the Self, and what thoughts, attitudes, behaviors do I need to change?  Almost miraculously, “fixing” oneself, i.e., reconciling oneself, brings harmony to an outer situation.  Perhaps just as frequently, one determines to change one’s outer situation.
      And that brings us back to my book blurb.  Are we reaching a critical mass, a sufficient number of reconciled individuals to effect the change necessary to save our small home in the cosmos?

     For information about the C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis, about the September 10-13, 2015, Jung in the Heartland Conference, and about the book of essays, Honoring the Altar of the Earth, visit or call (314) 533-6809.  The Heartland Conference will feature an art show with the conference theme.  The Society is hosting a reception at 7:00 pm Saturday, September 12, 2015, at the King’s House Retreat Center featuring the artists and authors presenting their prize-winning essays.

Rose F. Holt
Jungian Psychoanalyst
August 11, 2015


There are still a few openings for the Jung Society of St. Louis fourth Jung in the Heartland Conference to be held at King's House Retreat Center in Belleville, Il.  For detailed information, please visit

A guest speaker will be Monika Wikman, Jungian Analyst from Santa Fe, NM, author of Pregnant Darkness.  A feature of this conference will be an art exhibit.  Winning authors of the writing contest will present their essays.  There will be an Authors' and Artists' Reception on Saturday evening, September 12, to which the public is invited.  Details also at

The St. Louis Jung Society opens it new and used book store at each conference.  Conference goers have the opportunity to purchase books on Jungian topics.

Attendees at previous Jung in the Heartland Conferences have described them as "a happening";  "best conference ever!"' "a wonderful group of like-minded folk"; "rich with community and spirit",;"delicious food."

All rooms at the center are private rooms with bath.   Meals are prepared from locally-owned, organic gardens.  Special diet restrictions can be accommodated.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Psychology and Religion Study Group

The C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis organizes various study groups on topics related to Jungian Psychology.  I usually lead a study group on some Jung lecture or text.  This fall the text is Jung's Psychology and Religion, the Terry Lecture Jung presented at Yale in 1937.  Here are the particulars:

Jung Readings Study Group – Psychology and Religion

November 1, 8, 15, 22; December 6, 13, 2015
Sundays 2:00 – 3:30 pm

First Congregational Church UCC Conference Room
6501 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton, MO  63105

Test:  C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1938.  [This lecture, “Psychology and Religion,” is also included in Volume 11 of Jung’s Collected Works.]

In this work Jung discusses “what psychology has to do with or to say about religion.”  Regardless of one’s religious affiliation or personal belief system, there is considerable evidence that within the psyche there is something like a religious function that has psychological implications in one’s life.  In this study group, we will read and discuss Jung’s views in an effort to discern how his psychological approach might inform our own lives in a modern world increasingingly torn apart by religion.

(For people who are interested in the group but feel they lack a familiarity with basic Jungian theory, we recommend reviewing two videos: Rose Holt: "An Overview of Jungian Psychology & Its Value for Today", and Ken James: "Complexes, Archetypes, and the Transcendent Function."  Both are available through the C. G. Jung Society of St. Louis website ( or by calling (314) 533-6809.)  If you have questions or would like to discuss the course before registering, please contact Rose at (314) 726-2032 or

[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 taught numerous courses and has authored numerous essays on topics in Jungian Psychology.]

Friday, August 07, 2015


I recently had an inquiry from a college student who had had a troubling dream about being watched. He awoke feeling anxious and tried to google information to understand the dream.  In response to his questions, I sent him a couple of pages about the "seeing eye" in a dream and the following explanation:

Hi Danny,

I sent you two pages that are pretty opaque.  Essentially the idea is that there is an entity (The Self, in Jungian Psychological terms) that lies in the unconscious and keeps a watchful eye on the ego.  The Self is a kind of guiding principle that needs something from the ego and will guide and grow it up in ways so that it (the ego) can function effectively both in the world and in the unconscious. All real creativity emerges from this Self-ego relationship, and it is fundamentally important for full development of the personality.

One way to examine the state of the relationship is by reflecting on one’s dreams.  Is something (the Self) in the unconscious critical of me, pleased with me, helping me, wanting something from me?  The dream storyline and characters present a drama in which the dream ego (the part of the dreamer’s personality depicted in the dream) has a role.  Is the role cooperative, adversarial, passive, etc? Does the dream depict me as responsible, worthy, adult or as a petulant child, angry, obdurate, difficult?  The dream seems to hold an opinion about our ego, and will tell us that opinion in no uncertain terms.  That is precisely the reason so many people ignore and/or dismiss their dreams.

Of course, if you think about it a minute, for every dream there has to be something like an "eye" (of a camera?) or "watcher" that captures the action and presents it the dreamer as a memory upon awakening.

If you pay attention to your dreams, jot down notes and reflections about them, you will, over time see that the dreams begin to respond to your attention.  That is when it gets really interesting.

There is solid empirical evidence for all this, so don’t take it as an article of faith but as a working hypothesis for your own personality development.

Anyway, Danny, this might give you a foot hold for gleaning some meaning out of that one dream and, of course, out of others.

Best of luck in the coming school year.

Sincerely, Rose F. Holt