Seminar – 23 and 24 September 2017 – Program
The Heritage Room, University College, University of Melbourne
DAY ONE – Presented by Dr Glen Slater – 23 September 2017
9.00 am Registration commences
9.20 am Seminar commences
9.20 – 10.45 SESSION 1: PSYCHE AND SOUL-MAKING
10.45 – 11.15 Morning tea
11.15 – 12.45 SESSION 2: PERSONIFYING AND FALLING APART
12.45 – 1.30 Lunch
1.30 – 3.00 SESSION 3: SEEING THROUGH
3.00 – 3.30 Afternoon tea
3.30 – 5 .00 SESSION 4: LIVING MYTHICALLY
5.00 pm Close
DAY TWO – Presented by Dr Safron Rossi – 24 September 2017
9.20 – 10.45 SESSION 5: SENEX AND PUER – OLD AND NEW
10.45 – 11.15 Morning tea
11.15 – 12.45 SESSION 6: HESTIA – GOING INSIDE
12.45 – 1.30 Lunch
1.30 – 3.00 SESSION 7: HERMES – THE MERCURIAL WAY
3.00 – 3.30 Afternoon tea
3.30 – 5 .00 SESSION 8: ARTEMIS – WILD SOLITUDE
5.00 pm Close
Selected reviews of book titles on the recommended reading list for How Psyche Speaks:
Thomas Moore - one book on recommended reading list
A radical and profoundly capacious view of human nature is the foundation for this eloquent discourse on living an imaginative, ``soulful'' life--one that embraces both body and spirit--in modern times. Challenging contemporary psychotherapy and its ``muscled, strong-willed pursuit of change,'' Moore ( Dark Eros ), a therapist and religious historian who trained as a Catholic monk but did not make final vows, poses an attentive, accepting approach to everyday life that emphasises ``modest care and not miraculous cure.'' Calling upon theories of C. G. Jung, Freud, Plato and such Renaissance thinkers as Marsilio Ficino and Paracelsus, the author reexamines Western archetypes and myths, citing Demeter and Persephone, Narcissus and Odysseus as well as Jesus for guidance in appreciating ``the paradoxical mysteries that blend light and darkness into the grandeur of what human life and culture can be.'' Taking issue with current psychological precepts, beginning with the assumption that we have control over much of our lives and including our reverence for innocence and a belief in the triumph of the good, Moore urges that ``we let the soul speak and show itself as it is, not as we wish it would be.'' His interpretations, particularly of myths, are not evenly persuasive, but all are well-considered and provocative. In graceful, deceptively gentle prose, he rejects formula, rigidity and a self-worth measured by accepted norms and thus upends contemporary spiritual and religious mores. The book is invigorating, demanding and revolutionary.
In the introduction, Moore describes the book as "a program for bringing soul back to life." What does he mean by soul? He writes: "Soul is not a thing but a quality or dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance." For him, soul is the seat of the emotions and the hub of our lives. Moore claims that a loss of soul lies behind the restlessness, addiction, insecurity, and frustration of so many contemporary men and women. With lives devoid of meaning and purpose, people yearn for something to nourish their souls.
Thomas Moore is to be commended for providing a recipe for soulful living in troubled times. He helps us see that we can survive and learn from our personal troubles, tragedies, and follies. He proclaims that soul cannot be separated from body, family, work, love, or power. And by challenging us to care for our souls, Moore draws a bead on the bounties of spirituality. In the end, he calls us to our true vocation which is to care for the world's soul and to celebrate the sacred arts of life. This is an essential primer for those who want to relate spirituality to everyday life. [Book Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat]
Steeped in a sense of the sacred and the profound, Moore’s thesis is that modern lives lack mystery and the success of the book suggests most of us agree.
You should find it a peaceful experience, like a letter from a forgiving friend; while knowing everything about you, they still believe in your godliness. This effect may derive from a combination of Moore’s experience as a psychotherapist, his years as a monk and his wide learning. Inspired by myth, history and art, the book exudes the richness of human experience.
Moore’s influences include Freud (the psychic underworld), Jung (the belief that psychology and religion are indistinguishable), James Hillman (The Soul’s Code), and the Renaissance men Ficino and Paracelsus.
What is care of the soul?
Care of the soul is ‘an application of poetics to everyday life’, bringing imagination back into those areas of our lives that are devoid of it and re-imagining the things that we believe we already understand. Rewarding relationships, fulfilling work, personal power and peace of mind are gifts of the soul. They are difficult to achieve because the idea of soul does not exist for most of us, instead making itself known through physical symptoms and complaints, anguish, emptiness or general unease.
Soulwork can be simple. Often, you feel better just by accepting and going more deeply into what you apparently hate, for example a job, a marriage, a place. We will not receive the soul’s messages if they are moved out of sight. Conventional self-help and psychotherapy are problem-solving. Literature on the soul, exemplified by Moore, is ‘problem-noticing and wondering’.
Enjoying our depth and complexity
Moore asks us to re-examine the myth of Narcissus, the beautiful young man in love with an image of himself in a pond. His soulless and loveless self-absorption results in tragedy but its intensity eventually pushes him into a new life of reflection and love for his deeper self and nature around him.
With the analysis of myths such as these, Moore counsels that we should avoid the simplistic single-mindedness of some self-help writing. There are many aspects to the self and by accommodating its competing demands (for example solitariness versus social life), life expands into something fuller. We can sometimes entertain our ego, at other times be the detached sage. Both are valid and we do not always have to make sure that life makes sense.
No-one has a soul like ours
‘The uniqueness of a person is made up of the insane and the twisted as much as it is of the rational and normal,’ Moore notes. Care of the Soul warns us to be careful that our efforts to ‘iron out the bumps’ may only be a drive toward conformity and a loss of ourselves.
Most therapists now focus on specific problems that can be tackled in a short time frame, that can restore you to ‘normality’. Care of the soul never ends, however, as the soul itself is outside of time.
In place of the ‘salvation fantasy’ that he believes characterises contemporary self-help, Moore tries to return us to a self-knowledge quest that can encompass our shadows and complexities. His book is modelled on the less ambitious self-help manuals of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which offered philosophical comfort for the trials of life. He continues an old and venerable tradition.
Renaissance doctors, Moore tells us, believed that each soul originated as a star in the night sky. The modern idea, he notes, is that a person is ‘what he makes himself to be’. Moore’s book gives us something altogether different: the encouragement to wonder what is eternal in us. [Book Review by Tom Butler-Bowdon]
James Hillman - four books on recommended reading list
James Hillman was an American psychologist. He served in the US Navy Hospital Corps from 1944 to 1946, after which he attended the Sorbonne in Paris, studying English Literature, and Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a degree in mental and moral science in 1950. In 1959, he received his PhD from the University of Zurich, as well as his analyst's diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute and founded a movement toward archetypal psychology, was then appointed as Director of Studies at the institute, a position he held until 1969. In 1970, Hillman became editor of Spring Publications, a publishing company devoted to advancing Archetypal Psychology as well as publishing books on mythology, philosophy and art. His magnum opus, Re-visioning Psychology, was written in 1975 and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Hillman then helped co-found the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture in 1978. Retired into private practice, writing and traveling to lecture, until his death at his home in Connecticut on October 27, 2011 from bone cancer.
For Jungian psychoanalyst Hillman, who has won a following with such books as Re-Visioning Psychology , the psyche is a polytheistic battleground, words are carriers of soul between people and dream images are ``necessary angels'' demanding a response. Readers who have found Hillman's therapeutic approach impractical or abstruse will welcome this compact, highly readable anthology of his writings--edited in collaboration with Hillman and encompassing hard-to-find books, articles and lectures. The selections reveal Hillman as a systematic thinker who adopts an open-ended attitude toward the mind, seeking out mythic archetypes and fantasies at work in family conflicts, in politics, war, the workplace--and in the betrayals and raptures of love.
This book is as useful as it is unusual. There is no one like James Hillman, who has found a way to talk about the soul in a familiar almost tangible way while bringing together large areas of arcane knowledge--gnosticism, alchemy, nep-platonism, polytheism, and of course his own variety of Jungian archetypal psychology. This collection is many pieces stitched together, edited with great care , and though it is all one argument, there are so many and so frequent shifts in rhetoric and focus that it can be difficult to follow at times. But the argument repays close reading (and frequent rereading of particularly packed passages), so one should be prepared to earn the insight that Hillman offers in abundance.
In this engrossing introduction to the writings, articles, and lectures by Jungian psychologist James Hillman, Thomas Moore calls him an "artist of psychology" who makes the most of " the wisdom, the artfulness, and the beauty of centuries of soulful work, love, and play." He states that this maverick enjoys polemics, persuasion, and controversy. Moore also notes that Hillman's accent on love and beauty takes psychology into new territory beyond issues of fix, control and cure. Whether writing on dreams, depression, mythology, or aesthetics, Hillman sparks our imagination and reveals the limits of reductionism. His attentiveness to " soul making" revives our interest in the link between psychology and religion. Moore has divided the book into chapters on soul, world and eros and provided incredible brilliant introductions to each along with extended commentaries on Hillman's pieces. The diversity of subjects covered here and the incisiveness of his purview will send most readers back to the author's other writings for more of his insights. Highly recommended. This is a breakthrough work in psychology and Moore is to be commended for his scintillating job in bringing all this material together in one place. [Book Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat]
Hillman reads from and reflects on his life's work.
'Philosophers have tried to keep the line between spirit and soul by keeping soul altogether out of their works or assigning it a lower place. Descartes confined soul to the pineal gland, a little enclave between the opposing powers of internal mind and external space. More recently, Santayana has put soul down in the realm of matter and considered it an antimetaphysical principle. Collingwood equated soul with feeling and considered that psychology had no business invading the realm of thought and ideas. The spiritual point of view always posits itself as superior, and operates particularly well in a fantasy of transcendence among ultimates and absolutes.
Philosophy is therefore less helpful in showing the differences than is the language of the imagination. Images of the soul show first off all more feminine connotations. Psyche, in the Greek language, besides being soul denoted a nightmoth or butterfly and a particularly beautiful girl in the legend of Eros and Psyche. Our discussion in the previous chapter of the anima as a personified feminine idea continues this line of thinking. There we saw many of her attributes and effects, particularly the relationship of psyche with dream, fantasy, and image. This relationship has also been put mythologically as the soul's connection with the night world, the realm of the dead, and the moon. We still catch our soul's most essential nature in death experiences, in dreams of the night, and in the images of "lunacy." '
From James Hillman, Revisioning Psychology, p. 68.
Carl G Jung - one book on recommended reading list
Bollingen Series XX
Essays which state the fundamentals of Jung's psychological system: "On the Psychology of the Unconscious" & "The Relations Between the Ego & the Unconscious," with their original versions in an appendix.
Carl Jung is a doubly paradoxical thinker. His thought is both about paradoxes and in itself paradoxical. Jung, unlike other psychoanalytic thinkers such as Freud and Lacan who focused on interpersonal subject-object relations, focused on the self contained individual psyche and its relations with itself. On the other hand, the emphasis he placed on the collective unconscious makes the subject for Jung anything but self contained. Jung held that the collective unconscious is no less, even more, important than Freud's personal biographical unconscious.
Laying on his sofa, Freud might ask you about your relationships with your mother. Jung might not be as interested in your mother as he is with the mother. Jung is not so much concerned with how concrete individuals populate our mind; he is more interested with how our mind is populated with abstract figures that represent primeval elements of human existence. What we are dealing with here are the gods.
Much like Freud, Jung divides the psych into three parts: the I (ego), the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. Centering his thought on the collective unconscious is what distinguished Jung from other psychoanalytical thinkers and their view of the subject. For Jung, the collective unconscious plays a role which is no less and perhaps even more important than the personal unconscious in determining our personality.
According to Jung the collective unconscious is something inherited, meaning we are already born with certain ancient knowledge or mental content. The collective unconscious for Jung explains the continuity of culture and our sense of common experience with previous generations.
Jung's collective unconscious is populated by archetypes. Archetypes for Jung are amorphous shapes which are manifested with culture specific content. To understand Jung's concept of archetypes consider the fact that every human being has a mother, and every culture has to relate to the mother in some fashion or the other and assign her with meaning. For Jung, we are born with the idea of a mother (otherwise we wouldn't have been able to survive) that later takes shape in the form that native society perceives and represents the mother archetype. Jungian archetypes are such universal forms like the father, mother, hero, shadow and more.
The "shadow" archetype is one of the central concepts in Jung's theory. The shadow archetype for Jung somewhat resembles Freud's unconscious. The shadow is a form which takes on content perceived by us a negative. The more we are disengaged with the shadow the more it accumulates potency and causes damage to the psyche. [The Cultural Reader]
Why did primitive man go to such lengths to describe and interpret the happenings in the natural world, for example the rising and setting of the sun, the phases of the moon, the seasons? Carl Jung believed that the events of nature were not simply put into fairytales and myths as a way of explaining them physically. Rather, the outer world was used to make sense of the inner.
In our time, Jung noted, this rich well of symbols – art, religion, mythology – which for thousands of years helped people understand the mysteries of life, had been filled in and replaced by the science of psychology. What psychology lacked, ironically given its borrowing of the ancient Greek term, was an understanding of the psyche, or the self in its broadest terms.
For Jung, the goal of life was to see the 'individuation' of this self, a sort of uniting of a person's conscious and unconscious minds so that their original unique promise might be fulfilled. This larger conception of the self was also based on the idea that humans are expressions of a deeper layer of universal consciousness. To grasp the uniqueness of each person, paradoxically we had to go beyond the personal self to understand the workings of this deeper collective wisdom.
The collective unconscious
Jung admitted that the idea of the collective unconscious “belongs to the class of ideas that people at first find strange but soon come to possess and use as familiar conceptions.” He had to defend it against the charge of mysticism. Yet he also noted that the idea of the unconscious on its own was thought fanciful until Freud pointed to its existence, and it became part of our understanding of why people think and act the way as they do. Freud had assumed the unconscious to be a personal thing contained within an individual. Jung, on the other hand, saw the personal unconscious mind as sitting atop a much deeper universal layer of consciousness, the collective unconscious – the inherited part of the human psyche not developed from personal experience.
The collective unconscious was expressed through 'archetypes', universal thought-forms or mental images that influenced an individual's feelings and action. The experience of archetypes often paid little heed to tradition or cultural rules, which suggests that they are innate projections. A newborn baby is not a blank slate but comes wired ready to perceive certain archetypal patterns and symbols. This is why children fantasize so much, Jung believed: they have not experienced enough of reality to cancel out their mind's enjoyment of archetypal imagery.
Archetypes have been expressed as myths and fairytales, and at a personal level in dreams and visions. In mythology they are called 'motifs', in anthropology 'représentations collectives'. German ethnologist Adolf Bastian referred to them as 'elementary' or 'primordial' thoughts that he saw expressed again and again in the cultures of tribal and folk peoples. But they are not simply of anthropological interest; usually without knowing it, archetypes shape the relationships that matter in our lives.
Archetypes and complexes
Jung highlighted a number of archetypes, including the 'anima', the 'mother', the 'shadow', the 'child', the 'wise old man', the 'spirits' of fairytales, and the 'trickster' figure found in myths and history. We look at two below.
Anima means soul with a female form. In mythology it is expressed as a siren, a mermaid, a wood-nymph, or any form which 'infatuates young men and sucks the life out of them'. In ancient times, the anima came represented either as a goddess or a witch – that is, aspects of the female which were out of men's control.
When a man 'projects' the feminine aspect within his psyche onto an actual woman, that woman takes on magnified importance. The archetype makes itself present in a man's life either by infatuation, idealization or fascination with women. The woman herself does not really justify these reactions, but acts as the target to which his anima is transferred. This is why the loss of a relationship can be so devastating to a man. It is the loss of a side of him that he has kept external.
Every time there is an extreme love or fantasy or entanglement, the anima is at work in both sexes. She does not care for an orderly life, but wants intensity of experience - life, in whatever form. The anima, like all archetypes, may come upon us like fate. She can enter our life either as something wonderful or as something terrible – either way her aim is to wake us up. To recognize the anima means throwing away our rational ideas of how life should be lived, and instead admitting, as Jung puts it, that “Life is crazy and meaningful at once”.
The anima is profoundly irrational – and yet she carries great wisdom. When she comes into your life it may seem like chaos, but it is only later that we are able to divine her purpose.
The Mother archetype takes the form of personal mother, grandmother, stepmother, mother in law, nurse, governess. It can be fulfilled in figurative Mothers such as Mary Mother of God, Sophia, or the Mother who becomes a maiden again in the myth of Demeter and Kore. Other Mother symbols include the Church, country, the Earth, the woods, the sea, a garden, a ploughed field, a spring or well. The positive aspect of the archetype is Motherly love and warmth, so celebrated in art and poetry, which gives us our first identity in the world. Yet it can have negative meaning – the loving mother or the terrible mother or goddess of fate. Jung considered the Mother the most important archetype because it seemed to contain all else.
When there is an imbalance of the archetype in a person, we see the Mother 'complex'. In men, the complex may give rise to 'Don Juanism', which can make a man fixated on pleasing all women. Yet a man with a mother complex may also have a revolutionary spirit: tough, persevering, extremely ambitious.
In women, the complex can result in an exaggeration of the maternal instinct, with a woman living for her children, sacrificing her individuality. Her husband becomes just part of the furniture. Men may be initially attracted to women with a mother complex because they are the picture of femininity and innocence. Yet they are also screens onto which a man can project or externalize his anima, and he only later discovers the real woman he has married.
In other forms of the archetype, a woman will go to any lengths to not be like her biological mother. She may carve out a sphere of her own, for example becoming an intellectual to show up her mother's lack of education. A choice of marriage partner may be to antagonize and move away from the mother. Other women in the hold of the archetype may have an unconscious incestuous relationship with the biological father and jealousy of the mother. They may become interested in married men or having romantic adventures.
Jung noted that in evolutionary terms the unconscious came well before the development conscious thought. Yet in its youthful enthusiasm the conscious mind feels it can defy or deny its deeper counterpart; it is all-powerful while the unconscious seems a murky irrelevance. Yet he believed that “Man's worst sin is unconsciousness”. We project everything we internally don't like or can't accept onto the world, so that we wage war instead of studying ourselves. It is a case of 'anything but self-knowledge' – but in the end we pay the price, whether as individuals or collectively.
Why is psychology as a science so young? Jung suggests it was because for most of human history it simply wasn't necessary. The wonderful imagery and mythology of religions was able to express the eternal archetypes perfectly. People feel a need to dwell upon ideas and images relating to rebirth and transformation, and religions supply these in abundance for every aspect of the psyche. The Catholic Church's strange ideas of the Virgin Birth and the Trinity are not fanciful images but packed with meaning, Jung wrote, archetypes of protection and healing that administered to any ruptures in the minds of the faithful.
The Protestant Reformation reacted against all this. The rich Catholic imagery and dogma became nothing but 'superstition', and in Jung's view this attitude made way for the barrenness of contemporary life. Genuine spirituality must engage both the unconscious and the conscious mind, the depths as well as the heights.
Jung observed the trend of people in the West flocking to Eastern spirituality, but felt this was hardly necessary given the depth of meaning embedded in the Christian tradition. Another result was that that people are attracted to political and social ideas that were “distinguished by their spiritual bleakness”.
Humans have a religious instinct, Jung believed, whether it is a belief in God or in some secular faith like communism or atheism. “No one can escape the prejudice of being human” he observed.
'Individuation' was Jung's term for the point when a person is finally able to integrate the opposites within them - their conscious and unconscious minds. Individuation simply means to become what you always were in potentia, to fulfil your unique promise. The result is an individual in the real sense of the word, a whole and indestructible self that can no longer be hijacked by splintered aspects or complexes.
But this reintegration does not happen by thinking about it rationally. It is a journey with unexpected twists and turns. Many myths show how we need to follow a path that transcends reason in order to fulfill ourselves in life. Jung went to some length to define the self. He understood it to be something different from the ego; in fact the self incorporated the ego, “just as a large circle encloses a smaller one”. While the ego relates to the conscious mind, the self belongs to the personal and collective unconscious.
The healing mandala
Jung included in Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious many reproductions of mandalas, abstract patterned images whose name in Sanskrit means 'circle'. He believed that when a person draws or paints a mandala, unconscious leanings or wants are expressed in its patterns, symbols and shapes.
In his therapeutic practice, Jung found mandalas to have a 'magical' effect, reducing confusion in the psyche to order, and often affecting a person in ways that only became apparent later. They worked because the unconscious is allowed free reign; what has been swept under comes to the surface. Motifs such as egg shapes, a lotus flower, a star or sun, a snake, castles, cities, eyes, etc. are produced for no obvious reason, yet reflect or draw out processes that are going on deep below that person's conscious thinking. When a person became able to make a meaningful interpretation of the images, Jung observed that it was usually the beginning of psychological healing. It was one step taken in the individuation process.
We think we are modern and civilized with all our technology and knowledge, but inside, Jung says, we are still 'primitives'. He once observed in Switzerland a Strudel, a local witch-doctor, remove a spell from a stable – in the shadow of a railway line on which several trans-European expresses roared by.
Modernity does not do away with the need for us to attend to our unconscious minds. If we do neglect this side of us, the archetypes simply look for new forms of expression, in the process derailing our carefully made plans. Usually the unconscious supports our conscious decisions, but when a gap appears the archetypes are expressed in strange and powerful ways; we can be ambushed by lack of self-knowledge.
The universe of ancient symbols we once used for deciphering life's changes and larger meaning has been replaced by a science – psychology - that was never designed to understand the soul and cater to it. Writing of the scientific mindset in general, Jung wrote: “Heaven has become for us the cosmic space of the physicists...But 'the heart glows,' and a secret unrest gnaws at the roots of our being.” Modern man or woman lives with a spiritual emptiness that was once easily filled by religion or mythology. Only a new type of psychology that actually recognized the depth of the psyche would be able to quell this secret unrest.
When it seems you are helpless in the face of problems, it should be remembered that this deeper mind carries the totality of human experience, a vast store of objective wisdom and perfect solutions. It only has to be recognized and accessed. [Tom Butler-Bowdon]
Ginette Paris - two books on recommended reading list
A work of Archetypal Psychology. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to meditate or recollect the Divine in daily life. Also highly recommended for university libraries; theater, speech and communications collections; and for classical and psychological studies.
“.. a gem of feminine wisdom sparkling with the inner light of the author’s own deep convictions as a woman. Her rich personal experience and her wealth of knowledge as a social psychologist give this work an impressive scope. It radiates with a feminine power that reaches into the psychic life and spiritual inner workings of each person as well as the community of culture. She calls her spellbinding approach an “imaginative feminism.” With this she is able to weave together the objective wisdom and spiritual power of the archetypal perspective, as well as the mystery and artistry of the Eternal Feminine into a feminism worn weary by desiccating polemics and poisonous invectives on its political altars.
“This is an important book for both men and women at this pivotal time in cultural history when the Goddess is being reclaimed and invoked by collective effort to help prepare us to meet the New Age and its challenges. At this crucial point Ginette Paris “has sought in our cultural past whatever could be useful in nourishing the new gender identity and a renewed set of values for us to live by” (p. 197). Through tapping ancient sources she has succeeded in resurrecting a world view of the feminine that confronts the very spiritual and philosophical roots of the old patriarchal age and some of our most pressing social issues and problems.” [Julie Bresciani Excerpted from Quadrant, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Spring, 1987), 102-104]
Her truly remarkable work on the mythemes of three Greek religious figures is frankly feminist in perspective, but imaginably feminist and polytheistically so. “We are all Greek,” she writes (3), and she means by this to include the aphroditic, artemisian, and hestian aspects of men as well as women (192).
Paris writes: “There are as many feminisms as goddesses” (199) and she adds: “I do no think of polytheism as superior to monotheism – that would be contradictory” (198). True to these assertions, the text avoids literalisms and nominalisms. …Sensitive to the fact that “it is uninteresting if one only wishes to imitate the Greeks” (172), indeed, was uninteresting as imitatio Christi, Paris’ purpose is to make mythemes available “as a focus for questioning ourselves [individually and socially], for creating images” (172). …
The word “meditations” in the title is apt and should be read in the sense associated with Martin Heidegger and Marcus Aurelius. When Heidegger contrasted meditative with calculative thinking in his “Memorial Address” for Conradin Kreutzer in 1955, he claimed for the former the qualities of an “openness for mystery” and a “releasement toward things,” i.e., a humility in the face of the anxiety for certainty and control which could be correlated to a sensitivity for the body experience, qualities Heidegger thought were lacking in the encroaching sociologizing and scientizing of an-aesthetic life and thought in the academy.
That Paris’ work is meditative in this Heideggerian sense is especially seen in the way she handles the myth/history problematic. “The entanglement of history and myth is only embarrassing, “ she writes, “when we try at all costs to hold to the facts rather than to the spirit” (157). … Such modality leads Paris, and the reader, into a sensus communis that is reminiscent not only of Heidegger’s characterization, but also of the actual quality of text in the case of Marcus’ Meditations.
Like Marcus’ writing, this work is an essay…Indeed to this reviewer that the essay may well represent the mode, more and more, of thinking on the frontier as well as on the margins. One may recall other recent works: Anne Carson’s Eros, an Essay. James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games, and Susan Sontag’s, essay on Roland Barthes. These move the marbles. Besides Marcus Aurelius, there are Emerson, Montaigne, and the zuihitsu of the fourteenth-century Japanese writer Kenko … Paris’ book belongs to this company of the scholarly essay… This book is not without passion and body … In fact, this meditative essay, in the view of this reader, demonstrates its author’s saying: “More complexity, fewer complexes.”
[David L. Miller, Journal of the American Academy of Religion]
Joseph Campbell - one book on recommended reading list (Dr Safron Rossi, ed.)
On Safron Rossi's Goddesses (Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. In the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, edited by Safron Elsabeth Rossi. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2013. 304 pp. ISBN: 1608681823. Cloth $24.05.
The eternal feminine is what draws us on - Goethe
One of a number of critiques that continues to swirl around Joseph Campbell's massive library of books he has published (and now available on DVD) is that he appears to leave the feminine out of the Hero's Journey. Some of his readers have gone so far as to suggest that he leaves the feminine out of the mythic pantheon that he constructed over a lifetime of exploring world mythologies.
In this new book, Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine, much of such criticism might be muted or modulated or, at the very least, revisited and revised. The editor, Dr. Safron Rossi, a former mythological studies student at Pacifica Graduate Institute and now curator of the OPUS Archives and associate core faculty member at the institute, has performed a magnificent service in both idea and execution by gathering Campbell's lectures, essays, and informal talks into one volume. In its 300 pages, the volume celebrates Campbell's abiding and enduring interest in and fascination with the Goddess tradition, its mythohistorical legacy, and its voice in literary classics of the Middle Ages.
The eight substantial and often beautifully illustrated chapters, with artworks that include ceramics, paintings, sculptures, reliefs, engravings, and sketches from around the globe, gather a range of feminine divine presences across time and space. For example, consider the following: "Chapter 1. Myth and the Feminine Divine"; "Chapter 2. Goddess-Mother Creator: Neolithic and Early Bronze Age"; "Chapter 4. Sumerian and Egyptian Goddesses"; "Chapter 6. Iliad and Odyssey: Return to the Goddess"; "Chapter 8. Amor: The Feminine in European Romance." The brief appendix contains Campbell's foreword to Marija Gimbutas's Language of the Goddess as well as a list of "Essential Reading" on the Goddess's presence in a variety of disciplines.
As many readers of Campbell's ample corpus know, he is a comparative mythologist who works best within what I would call the "analogical imagination." He seeks similarities within forests of difference; words that I have found to describe his "mythodology" include "in accord with," " similar to," "like," and "corresponds to," to name a few. His method calls to mind C. G. Jung's provocative insight that "analogy formation is a law which to a large extent governs the psyche" (par. 414). Campbell generally adheres to this principle as a guide through the whirling motions of world mythologies over time. The other staple to his method is his understanding of myths as energy fields, even transport vehicles, that allow the individual and culture to move to a place where one or both may become transparent to transcendence. His move is always toward the invisible but palpable presences that undergird and give shape and form to the time-bound phenomenal world. In his imagination, the images of the Goddess have served humankind in just that way for millennia, however much they seem to have been lost, deconstructed, or decentered from the individual or collective psyche: "The object venerated," he asserts, "is a personification of an energy that dwells within the individual, and the reference of mythology has two modes-that of consciousness and that of the spiritual potentials within the individual" (14).
Furthermore, as we track his phenomenological exploration of Goddess imagery, we recognize him working the image as one would the imagery of a poem. In fact, it is well to recall his fundamental belief of the Goddess's presence: "People often think of the Goddess as a fertility deity only. Not at all-she's the muse. She's the inspirer of poetry. She's the inspirer of the spirit" (37). Most always, what myths lead Campbell to repeatedly proclaim is that they are manifestations in time and space of the timeless realm of spirit. …
Joseph Campbell brought mythology to a mass audience. His bestselling books, including The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces, are the rare blockbusters that are also scholarly classics.
While Campbell’s work reached wide and deep as he covered the world’s great mythological traditions, he never wrote a book on goddesses in world mythology. He did, however, have much to say on the subject. Between 1972 and 1986 he gave over twenty lectures and workshops on goddesses, exploring the figures, functions, symbols, and themes of the feminine divine, following them through their transformations across cultures and epochs.
In this provocative volume, editor Safron Rossi—a goddess studies scholar, professor of mythology, and curator of collections at Opus Archives, which holds the Joseph Campbell archival manuscript collection and personal library—collects these lectures for the first time. In them, Campbell traces the evolution of the feminine divine from one Great Goddess to many, from Neolithic Old Europe to the Renaissance. He sheds new light on classical motifs and reveals how the feminine divine symbolizes the archetypal energies of transformation, initiation, and inspiration.
The first Joseph Campbell work to focus on the Goddess, edited and introduced by Safron Rossi, PhD, Curator of Collections at Opus Archives and Research Center, home to the archival collections of Joseph Campbell, Marija Gimbutas, James Hillman, and other scholars of mythology, Jungian and archetypal psychology, and the humanities.
See also: Dennis Young - Re-Visioning Psychology in the Writing Class, JAEPL, Vol. 2, Winter 1996-1997, pp. 66-74
Call the world, if you please, "The vale of Soul-making. "
Then you will find out the use of the world.
Why Soul Matters (pp. 66-67)
The awe I felt reading Greek mythology when I was a child is still with me today. I marvel at the characters and the insights into human behavior that these stories depict. The ancient Greeks were profound psychologists, their stories always probing psychological depths. For them psychology meant something different than it does for us; the "logic or discourse of soul" (a literal translation of the word psychology) was not an abstract system of thought but was grounded in poetic figures and mythic tales. These myths have not lost their ability to move us through their archetypal power because they express and embody soul.
Soul is rooted in the main ground of the Western educational tradition, extending from the Greeks through the Renaissance and the Romantics to depth psychology and beyond. An admittedly difficult and elusive term, soul nonetheless resounds in discussions of the purpose and goals of education. In Book VII of The Republic Plato wrote that soul was the heart of education, positing that all learning is a kind of recovery of that clarity of perception characteristic of childhood.
Philosophers and psychologists as diverse as Emerson, Whitehead, Dewey, Jung, and Bruner have all intimated a mutual relationship between education and the cultivation of soul. For a stunning range of writers, soul is that center of organized power, of desire, of feeling, of awareness, of freedom, of choice. Considered this way, it seems somewhat redundant to speak of bringing soul back to the classroom; it already is in the classroom; it just isn't often acknowledged.
Because teaching writing always involves interpersonal relationships, student motivation, personal histories, and other psychological insistences that shape awareness and foster learning, it seems worthwhile to reconsider - or re-vision - psychology in the writing class.
James Hillman' s work in archetypal psychology helps us do that. I first became interested in Hillman's work while studying poetry in graduate school, discovering in his penetrating examination of the imaginative life and his rich description of archetypes a language to interpret the complexity of the psyche.
I further found that the in sights of archetypal psychology provided a method and vocabulary to interpret the subtle dynamics of learning and teaching. It was abundantly clear that a classroom psychology that does not attend to the psychic drama of student lives remains superficial. I'm not the first to recognize that the archetypal approach helps us reclaim the psychological dimension of the writing class. The recent call for a "poetics of composition" (Gates, 1993 ; Owens, 1993), the attention to postmodern notions of knowledge, teaching, and subjectivities (Faigley, 1992 ; Gere, 1993; Welch, 1996), the renewed interest in the noncognitive domain (Brand, 1989 ; Brand & Graves, 1994) and the psychoanalytic insights into teaching/learning writing (Brooke, 1987; Davis, 1987; Felman, 1982; Jay, 1987 ; Schleifer, 1987; Tobin, 1993) all pay singular attention to the psyche i n the writing class. Sessions at composition conferences - sessions that did not occur five years ago - now focus on such issues as spirituality, healing, meditation, and archetypes. Archetypal psychology provides a poetics of the classroom and suggests coordinates for understanding the place of discourse in shaping psyche and in understanding how archetypes underwrite rhetorical ways of making meaning.
Dennis Young - Re-Visioning Psychology in the Writing Class, JAEPL, Vol. 2, Winter 1996-1997, pp. 66-74
Archetypal Psychology and the Imagination (pp. 67-68)
Archetypal psychology is about the imaginative life, soul - not ego - and healing. Because archetypes relate fundamentally to cognitive and noncognitive realms of behavior and thought, they are central to a fully imagined psychology of students and their writing. As Hillman (1975) defines them, archetypes are
the deepest pattern of psychic functioning, the roots of the soul governing the perspectives we have of ourselves and the world. They are the axiomatic, self-evident images to which psychic life and our theories about it ever returns. (pp. xiii-xiv)
And they are the "frames of our consciousness" (p. 127). Consider the Greek root of the word itself: Arche implies a search for beginnings, and the initiating force of a beginning; typos means fundamental outline or structure. For archetypal psychology, "development of soul" and "the cultivation of imagination" are pivotal (1983a, p. 4); "depth" is identical with the imagination. If the "image is psyche," as Jung (1975, p. 23) believed, then being is essentially imaginal. The word imagination, Hillman (1983c) said, is preferable to unconscious because "the unconscious is an abstract noun to cover over the cultural implications that are in the imagination" (p. 32) . Since we are always behaving with imagination and always within the borders of an image, soul is not so much an entity as an on-going event, the deepening of events into experiences, the union of formative forces that give shape to psychic life with that psychic life itself shaped by them.
By using the term imaginal as opposed to imaginary, Hillman hoped to undercut the real/unreal distinction and to propose instead that the imaginal not be assessed in terms of a narrow, utilitarian conception of "reality," but a broader and more multifaceted one which gives credence to the imaginal (Corbin, 1972).
Like Jung, Hillman's psychology is grounded in myth and archetype, though Hillman sought to "annul [Jung's] metaphysics so as not to lose his psychology" (1989, p. 215). In other words, while omitting Jung's metaphysics and wishing to recover soul free of philosophical idealism and religion, Hillman (1983b) revived Jung's work in archetypes. And he in fact helps us to reconceive Jung as well as Freud and the psychoanalytic tradition. Hillman refigured Jung's Kantian metaphysical theology and his collective unconscious, and he revised the archetypal self, which for Jung was equated with the God archetype, leading Jung into a version of philosophical idealism. In place of Jung's one, all-powerful God and the notion of cosmic Creator and His privileged perspective, Hillman outlined a "polytheistic psychology" that privileges the aesthetic value of the image. In this regard Hillman betrayed the influence of Nietzsche as much as that of depth psychology. Following Nietzsche, Hillman deconstructed philosophical idealism and rejected theology and its literalizations altogether.
While Hillman did not claim to have founded a school of thought, his singular desire to recover psyche through myth, image, and language made him especially relevant to teachers of writing, because writing, in one way or another, is imaginative. The writing class is a constant process of gaining perspective and positioning self through the language of multiple discourses and "fictional" masks which are not exclusive to creative writing courses. Each time students sit down to write for us they not only have to "invent the university," as Bartholomae (1985 ) said, they also have to invent another version of themselves.
Hillman's (1980) radical view of soul as nontheological and grounded in the imagination, I believe, helps teachers to reclaim the word and what it implies. Archetypal psychology makes it possible to re-imagine students (and ourselves) not as whole, unchanging, literal egos striving for self-satisfaction, but as souls constituted by the shifts of thought, language, and experience. Such a perspective is important for writing teachers because language makes such awareness possible; without language we could have no introspection (p. 21). Imagining soul in part relies on the diversity, richness, and precision of the language that brings it forth.
Words are powers which have invisible power over us. They are personal presences which have whole mythologies: gender, genealogies (etymologies concerning origin and creation), histories, and voices: and they are guarding, blaspheming, creating, and annihilating effects. For words are persons. (1975, p. 7)
Meanings, ideas, and images cluster around words, which produce verbal archetypes. Writers engage that archetypal poesis or making in the activity of writing. We learn to write not so much by imitating texts but in part by identifying with persons and language that shape us. For example, I hear language echoes of my family members and influential teachers whenever I speak in the classroom; my written words seem inextricably bound to the language rhythms and word patterns of those close to me. Helping students claim their own language and thereby reclaim the meaning of their learning constitutes part of our task as teachers of writing.
Dennis Young - Re-Visioning Psychology in the Writing Class, JAEPL, Vol . 2, Winter 1996-1997, pp. 66-74
Reclaiming Education ... continues ... (p. 69 et seq.)
The Soul of the Writing Class (pp. 72-73)
Begin with where they are is a truism for teachers. Interpreted philosophically, the statement intends to help us see students as language users who seek to find and create forms and shape awareness. Redefining who students are and where they are psychologically is also crucial to understanding student development. It means that we need to see through the empirical fictions that govern our views of perception, psyche, and world. Being aware of soul in the writing class does not mean that participants enact a confessional group therapy session. It does mean that we remain open to the experiences that matter for students, and that we allow moments of confusion, emotion, failure, and silence - for in the construction of meaning these things count, too.
Soul emerges in all kinds of discourse, rhetorical situations, and classroom interactions. "You can't open your mouth without an archetypal perspective speaking through you. Rhetoric doesn't mean just the act or system of persuasive argument; by rhetoric" Hillman (1983c) states, "I mean that all speech is rhetorical in that every archetype has its own mode of rhetoric, its own way of persuading you" (p. 19). The rhetorical turn to archetypes occurs when we see them as structures of consciousness and embodiments of soul. The mythic element in writing is important in part because it provides a vocabulary of psyche.
It's hard to express emotion and psyche, to name what is important. By naming the emotion and the experience, John called forth its significance and gained the motivation necessary to write seriously. This motivation to reclaim experience gave soul to his writing, revealing that writing is seldom a mere choice between personal and academic discourses. Richard Miller (1996), reconsidering the place of the personal in academic contexts, points out that writing is "transformative, ... an activity whereby we remake ourselves (my italics)"; it is a process of "learning how to make oneself heard in a variety of contexts" (p. 282). We need to learn, Miller goes on, "to hear what ... students are saying," to help them entertain alternative constructions of themselves and to re-vision "the components and possible trajectories of one's lived experience" (p. 285). This plea for making students' lives central in an academic setting is consonant with attending to soul in writing as one way to elicit engaged and meaningful work.
I began this essay with a reference to Greek mythology, and I would like to end with a familiar archetypal image as a visual reminder of what the writing class is. Hermes, god of borders and hermeneutics, is a constitutive figure for the writing class. Hermes recalls the inevitable chaos and ambiguity - as well as the organizing force - of the hermeneutical act of composing. Hermes is, Hillman points out, a "healing fiction ... guide of souls ... He appears in the interpretive act; his gift is the insight" (1983b, p. 30). He is also the eloquent, mercurial trickster who twists words, who makes new and unexpected meanings, and who escorts us to the soul of words; he is, after all, the god of writing. Hermes then embodies the perfect image of the elusive nature of teaching and learning writing. He reminds us that the subject of writing resists clear and stable definition and that psyche is forever out of sure reach and, at the same time, always present. Hermes then gives us a word and an image for representing the writing class and for revealing the emotional complexity of learning/teaching writing. As a writing teacher, I privilege Hermes and use him as a guide through the psychic landscape of the classroom, a place of learning and a place of healing.
Dennis Young - Re-Visioning Psychology in the Writing Class, JAEPL, Vol. 2, Winter 1996-1997, pp. 66-74
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