Jungian Themes

The rainmaker and the dream of drought

Jung was fond of telling a story of a drought being broken in a village in China by a Taoist rainmaker.[1] I share the story and some further thoughts on it in the light of the current drought and impending day zero in the Cape. There was a great drought where [Richard] Wilhelm lived; for months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned [...]

The Grand Promise of Transformation

transfəˈmeɪʃ(ə)n, noun, a marked change in form, nature, or appearance. There is a major paradox in the personal growth movement. A critical fault line running down its centre. We are sold and often tempted by promises of transformation, but, critically, what we most want is to be authentic. Do you want to transform? If you do, it is worth thinking about what you trying to change. Your nature? Who you are? How you live in this world? Do you want to be better? Do you desire to change somehow to [...]

A short course in Wrestling an Angel

The mistake is to think of angels as cherubs. They’re not. That was just the romantic imagination of renaissance art. A more accurate perspective of the angel, at least psychologically, is provided by the Old Testament story of Jacob, who wrestled with the Angel of the Lord. To put it plainly, the angel fucked him up. He escaped with his life intact, no mean feat after seeing the face of God[1], but, not without suffering a dislocated hip, resulting [...]

Have you swallowed another’s shadow?

Have you ever met one of those couples, where the one is just perfect and fantastic and their partner is a walking disaster? One is incompetent, inappropriate, a total bitch or bastard, etc. Yet their partner is charismatic, socially skilled, an all round good person. And you think to yourself what on earth is he doing with her (or vice versa). Whilst I was doing research on Persona, I came across a story told by Jung which illustrates this very [...]

The Body and the Blood

When I was a kid, for as long as I can remember, every Friday night, we would go to my grandmother’s house for a family supper. As my mother and one of my aunts were fond of saying, “Every road leads to Mayfair,” the suburb my grandmother’s home was located.  We would go there for what I can only describe as a feast. My grandmother, God rest her soul, would prepare a feast for us every single week, without fail. [...]

Forgiving another, what it really means.

I have just returned from another fantastic international study trip with Dr. Leslee Brown, exploring Existential Analysis in Vienna. Leslee sources experts in various psychodynamic disciplines and puts together amazing learning opportunities for both professionals (these courses are accredited) and anyone who is interested in these topics. Her next tour is in July 2016, this time in Argentina, and explores Lacan and Tango therapy. Follow this link for more information on this fantastic opportunity. The Existential Summit I attended was in Vienna and [...]

The Spectre of the “Other” in Jungian Psychology

The Spectre of the “Other” in Jungian Psychology 2017 Conference on Jungian Psychology International Conference of the International Association for Jungian Studies www.jungstudies.net August 3rd – 6th, 2017 Cape Town, South Africa   Call for Papers   “I do not know what Africa is really saying to me, but it speaks.” (Jung in a letter to Emma in Memories, Dreams, Reflections) We invite you to participate in a gathering of academics, analysts, students and others interested in exploring a Jungian conceptualization of Otherness, and how such ideas interface with [...]

An Alchemists’ Lair

Arriving at Bollingen Tower. I am not an intrepid traveler. I am rather attached to my comforts and routines and usually overwhelmed by the airports and stations and luggage and people and shops. So it was with great trepidation that I set off to Zurich to attend the C.G. Jung Institute Winter Intensive, 2016. I traveled with a group organised by Dr. Leslee Brown that included accommodation and outings. This really worked for me, since I usually hide out in [...]

Individuation, Jung’s 2nd Personality, and the Freak

Consider for a moment the utterly and overwhelmingly absurd nature of our existence. We send our children to school to learn what? Their capacities or their limitations? What they are capable of or incapable of? I would argue the latter. Here I think one must agree with Freud’s very astute analysis of the human condition that psychic castration is an essential developmental stage. Without the recognition of our limitations we become monsters. One has only to encounter a precocious teenager [...]

A critical analysis of Jung’s contribution to depth psychology of the Collective Unconscious and its value for psychotherapy.

This is a copy of public lecture delivered to Psyche at the University of Pretoria 9 September 2015 Introduction Carl Gustav Jung, (1875 – 1961), the Swiss psychiatrist and academic,  was an early and key collaborator of Freud’s; and at one time the heir apparent to the psychoanalytic legacy. He made a big impact in medical and forensic psychology, early in his career, whilst at Burgholzli Psychiatric Clinic, with his word association experiment. The word association experiment had a particular significance for psychoanalysis [...]