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The C. G. Jung Society of Queensland
Newsletter for October - December 02
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The C.G. Jung Society of Queensland

 

 

 

Newsletter                                                                                                         Oct - Dec 2002, Vol A, No 33.

 

 Letter from the President

 

The Creative Urge

I decided to write in this issue about the creative urge. By this I mean allowing ones life to follow an urge from within rather than following the prescribed roles of society. This is a personal matter for me and one which, as a Jungian enthusiast, I naturally find reflected in writings I have recently come across.

 

On the personal side, I have had ample time to reflect on my decision several years ago to switch from social work within organisations to social work in private practice. Although I made the move gradually, I can consider them as distinct parts of my life.

 

Organisational Dictates

In working for an organisation, one is carried along by the norms, roles, policies and accepted practices of the organisation. For example, as a social worker in the state child protection service in Ireland, my work was constantly directed by team decisions, child protection policies, social norms (e.g., about how children should reasonably be treated), the needs of the clients and legal requirements for acceptable evidence. Certainly within that, I was able to shape my work with my own stamp of individuality. I used my creative faculty to carry out my duties. But in general, my job was as an agent of the service.

 

Although the work was extremely valuable, I felt constricted in expressing a part of my own individuality. I wanted to work with people at a more subtle level. As I see it now there was a creative urge growing in me that wished to have its own space in the world. I wanted, for example, to work with clients in a much more relaxed way that allowed space for their own creativity to come forth. I had a vision of working by myself in a place which was nurturing for the client simply because that was the energy of the place.

 

Yes and No

To a large extent I have fulfilled that vision although not in the way I had imagined it. In fact, despite my creative urge it took a move to Australia and subsequently some prompting from a colleague to take the essential steps. At every step, the urge to move ahead and the urge to resist were both present in a constant struggle. They still are and that may not change.

 

Marie-Louise Von Franz describes this beautifully:  This strange tendency of the unconscious to bring something up and then not want to hand it to consciousness has also to do with the problem that every creative impulse is double. There is always a Yes and a No, an active and a passive aspect.

 

Pregnant

Following a discussion of a male clients dream-theme of pregnancy, Von Franz generalises about the process of giving birth to a creative idea:  Whenever there is a creative constellation in the unconscious, that is when the unconscious has conceived a child, if we do not put it out in the form of a creative work we get possessed by it instead.

 

 

She goes on to describe how the foetus, or the idea with which one is pregnant can be absolutely perfect in the vision, that is, before it is born. This leads to a reluctance to give birth to the idea for it might turn out to be just a little mouse. And this has been my experience exactly. I quote her at length here because I think she describes the situation so well and her words should be recognisable to anyone who has ever tried to create anything, i.e., all of us.

 

If one is still entangled with a pre-conscious creative process, one is secretly inflated. Men then have a belly like a pregnant woman, but psychically, which is an inflation. A pregnancy is, so to speak, an inflation. People sometimes resist becoming creative because ones would-be creativeness is always so much more impressive and important than the little egg one lays in the end when birth takes place. When you are full of would-be ideas, then you feel you will go far beyond whatever Dr. Jung said; you will bring out an idea that will revolutionize our whole age, and so on. This is what one feels quite legitimately by the way when one is pregnant, because the whole unconscious is contaminated with this pre-conscious creative idea. You carry the whole Godhead in your womb, so to speak. But then when you sit down and do the hard work of setting forth your idea, there is a terrific disillusionment, and what you finally produce is a sad remnant of what you felt it to be when it was inside your psychological womb.  This is a typical state, but the only thing to do is, under all circumstances, to bring the mouse out; for sometimes it is more than a mouse..  Sometimes the problem is also how much you can bring out, and how much you will have to leave behind. Every question you touch leads from hundreds into thousands of problems; you go deeper and deeper, and then have to make up your mind how much you will set out and how much you will omit.  It is a painful decision to make, and people very often prefer to walk about for years in the state of a would-be creative person, with an enormous belly but with all the disagreeable symptoms of constant irritation, wanting to vomit, bad moods, and restlessness.

 

The Solution

I think those quotes underline the complexity of the creative process. It is not a linear process. The creative process is a problem-solving one in which we struggle with opposing forces within ourselves, notably above, the ideal versus the real. Peter OConnor comes at it from another angle:  I think the rush to solutions is a rush to doing and if we cant find solutions we feel inadequate and anxious about that inadequacy whereas for me if you wait long enough and you can sustain yourself in not knowing, then something usually emerges [birth? F.C.]. So if you rush for solutions you must inevitably violate the complexity of what you are trying to deal with and if you can wait and sustain yourself through the anxiety of not knowing then to me thats like a fertile space into which something might come rather than cluttering them up initially with solutions.

 

 

Best Wishes,

 

Frank Coughlan

frankacoughlan@bigpond.com

07 3356 1127

 


 

International Speakers in A Packed October

 

Don't forget about our four October events: two talks and two workshops, by Austalian David Tacey and New Mexican Steve Gallegos.

 

If you are not already familiar with David Tacey, see Anne DiLauro's review of his book in this newsletter.

 

Tacey's great ability is to expound on the grand view of his subject. He does this masterfully with his main current interest: Jung and the New Age. He argues that Jung is misunderstood and misrepresented in the New Age Movement which has superficially adopted Jung's ideas. Really, Tacey is looking at the great sweep of where Jung's ideas are taking the world and what should be the role of traditional followers of Jung in the spiritual evolution of the western world. Tacey is guaranteed to stimulate your thoughts about Jung. He seems to me to have the ability to give form to ideas that are just beginning to emerge into consciousness for the rest of us.

 

Eligio Stephen Gallegos is a US psychologist who has devoted his life to exploring his own psyche at depth and to trusting the language of imagery to guide his inner evolution at every stage of life. In Australia for the International Imagery Festival, his talk and workshop for the Jung Society will be about how to work with one's own imagery imagery that arises spontaneously when we relax in order to progress towards a more integrated personality and perhaps even to heal some old psychological wounds in the process. Gallegos also has some interesting views on Jung's theory of how we interface with the world: through thinking, sensing, feeling and intuition. He asks:could intuition apply to all four functions? And, if so, what would be the fourth function, where intuition traditionally sits? Gallegos trains groups in Europe and the USA in the use of imagery as a therapeutic modality.

 

We have copies of books by both presenters in our library. Contact our librarian, Marie Sinclair, to borrow them.

 

David Tacey Lecture - Thursday 3 October (regular monthly meeting)

Auditorium F 1.12   Australian Catholic University

53 Prospect Rd  Mitchelton

Members and Concession $10,  Non-members $15

 

David Tacey Workshop Saturday 5 October (phone Anne on 3511 0167 to book)

The Chapel of the Australian Catholic University

Members $60, Non-members $70, Concession $50

 

Steve Gallegos Lecture Thursday 17 October

St Marys Parish Hall

Cnr Merivale & Peel Sts  South Brisbane

Members and Concession $5,  Non-members $10

 

Steve Gallegos Workshop Saturday 19 October (phone Frank on 3356 1127 to book)

Quaker Meeting House

10 Hampson St  Kelvin Grove

Members $70, Non-members $80, Concession $60



Book Review


 

David Tacey - Jung and the New Age

(Philadelphia PA and Hove, East Sussex, Brunner-Routledge, 2001, 218 p.)

 

It was while on a pilgrimage to the Boston Jung Institute that I first heard of David Tacey. When the librarian heard that I was Australian, she produced an article by Tacey on the Australian psyche. For me, a long-time expatriate and Jungian, it was manna!

 

David Tacey is Associate Professor in Arts and Critical Enquiry at Latrobe University and is known to spiritual and religious groups in his native Australia for his writings on culture and spirituality. Internationally, he is known as a Jungian. He teaches at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich and his books are cited on American Jungian web sites.

 

Tacey describes his main interest as the recovery of meaning in the contemporary world. He is a creative thinker and an observer - tracking the sacred in secular society.  His most recently published book, Jung and the New Age, is a natural progression in his thought from his previous books Edge of the Sacred, Remaking Men: Jung, Spirituality and Social Change and Re-Enchantment: the New Australian Spirituality. In these works, he calls upon Australians to awaken from their spiritual torpor, to reconnect body and spirit via soul, to awaken to an identity that incorporates concern for community and respect for the environment and aboriginal culture. Little notice has been taken of these books in the popular press, probably proving Taceys observation that non-aboriginal Australians are embarrassed by spirituality and in general defend themselves from the unconscious by clinging to the tangible, just as they cling to the coastal fringes of this continent, leaving its vast internal areas unexplored. Thus aboriginal Australians, who are part of that vast Centre, fall into the collective shadow of non-aboriginal Australians.

 

In Re-Enchantment, Tacey explains what he means by spirituality: it is a desire for connectedness, an entirely natural mode of being in the world if only we would open ourselves to it, a feeling of being connected to a greater or larger whole, relating our lives to the greater mystery in meaningful and transformative ways. He sees spirituality as being increasingly separated from religion and regarded as a reality in its own right.

 

Taceys reflections have inevitably led him to brush up against the phenomenon of the New Age. In Jung and the New Age, we follow him as he wrestles with the state of consciousness of New Age culture and its place in a paradigm of spirituality. The New Age, says Tacey, cannot be ignored because although its expressions may be crude and untutored, it is able to tell us much about the spirit of the time, about what is being left out of Western consciousness. In a materialist society, the New Age compensates for the repression of powerful longings of the human spirit, as well as for those elements ignored or repressed by established religion - the sacred feminine, the body, nature, instincts, ecstasy and mysticism.

 

However, says Tacey, although the New Age was born in response to these lacks, it is only a parody of the authentic spiritual life. It simply turns it into a commodity, creating spiritual consumerism, offering only fast food that cannot truly nourish.

 

C.G. Jung has been called the father of the New Age and Tacey points out that much of what the general public knows about Jung has come via New Age simplistic and distorted representations of him. Those, like Richard Noll, who wish to belittle and ridicule Jung, do so by identifying him with what the New Age has made of him.  Tacey says that it is time this conspiracy was brought to light and his aim in this book is to redeem Jung.

 


The book is a richly woven exploration of the place of religion and spirituality in our society in relation to the ideas of Jung. Tacey sees Jungs psychology as being a psychology of religious experience, and Jungs spiritual intention as not to bolster the status of mortal man but to challenge man to acquire a deeper and more abiding humility. While Jung believed that the human ego must serve and attend a larger religious mystery, the New Age promotes the belief that the spiritual mystery must serve and attend the needs of the ego.

 

Tacey is not afraid to be controversial, giving no quarter when attacking what he terms the appalling state of archetypal theory (he is highly critical of post-Jungian archetypal psychology), Jungian fundamentalism, and the dangerous return to the masculine myth (Bly, Corneau) when we have hardly begun to open ourselves to the feminine. While exposing the phenomenon of best-selling books that exploit Jungs insights for the inflationary purposes of advancing power and commercial success, he names a number of well known Jungian analysts whom he believes have distorted Jungs subtlety and complexity by attempting to popularise him, including his own analyst James Hillman in his later works.

 

Although Taceys criticism of the New Age is rigorous, he by no means dismisses it.  He ends the book with a reflection on the archetype of the child. While the child sees religious products as objects for its own pleasure, to be sucked and spat out, the child also has importance for its prophetic role what it will become. The New Age is prophetic, Tacey offers, of an authentic new age, which is a guiding myth and symbol of hope for human transcendence. It is the religious impulse learning again how to walk.

 

Jung Societies everywhere make an important and serious contribution to the cultural life of their community. Taceys message is of tremendous interest in suggesting how we, as members of our respective Jung Societies, carry out our mission of making Jungs ideas known and understood by the general public, presenting his work authentically, without treating it as a spiritual or psychological commodity, disentangling it from the false Jungian. Tacey casts his light to show us the quicksands and the snares. It is up to us to find the path through them.

 

            Anne Di Lauro

 

If members are interested in reading David Taceys Jung and the New Age, it is available through the Societys Library.  Contact Maree on 3371 1285 to arrange to borrow the book.


 

Upcoming events

 

 

November


DAWN GEORGE

 

Priming Intuition: Chaos Theory as a Way to Engage the Imaginal

 

When:              Thursday 7 November 2002 at 7:30 pm

Where: St. Marys Church Hall, Cnr Merivale & Peel Streets, South Brisbane

Cost:                Members and concession $5; non-members $10

 

For the Sufi, the imaginal was the locus where psyche and matter enfolded one another. We will enter the imaginal space through images of fractals and strange attractors as a way to prime our intuition for thinking outside the box, whether sitting with a patient or engaging the complexities of postmodern life.

 

Dawn George, PhD., is a member of the core faculty of Pacifica Graduate Institute, California. She is trained in psychoanalytic and analytical psychology and has a private practice in Santa Barbara.



December


ALICE MILLER

 

Meaning, Mid-life and Beyond

 

When:              Thursday 5 December

Where: 7.30pm  St Marys Parish Hall, Cnr Merivale & Peel Sts, South Brisbane

Cost:                $5 members and concession, $10 non-members

 

Alice Miller is a former lecturer in Leadership Studies at the Australian Catholic University and has also worked for the Department of Arts and Sciences.  She undertook a doctoral study of midlife transitions for single women.

 

As in previous years, we shall serve wine and juice.  If you can, please bring some nibbles to share!



Patricks Column


 

The other day I came across this reflection by Mary Moore Gaines:

 

In a certain African tribe when a woman knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child.  They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavour and purpose.  When the women attune to the unborn childs song, they sing it out loud.  They then return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

 

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the childs song to him or her.  Later when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the childs song.  When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing.  At the time of marriage, the person hears her song.  Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the persons bedside, just as they did at her birth, and they sing her to the next life.

 

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child.  If at any time during her life she commits a crime or an anti-social act, she is called to the centre of the village and the community forms a circle around her.  Then the community sings her song to her.  The tribe recognizes that the correct response to anti-social behaviour is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity.  When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

 

The work of Carl Jung could be described as helping people get in touch with the song deep within them.  This is far from stressing the need for individualism, which emphasizes peculiarities and how different we are from others. An emphasis upon how we differ only leads to more of a separation from others, for it comes out of a reaction mode.  Individuation on the other hand, is termed by Jung a vocation; this means a call to obey ones own law, for the sake of us as individuals and us as members of the universe.  No one develops their personality because someone told them it would be useful or advisable for them to do so.  The development of personality means fidelity to the laws of ones own being.  True personality is always a vocation. (Psychology and Alchemy, para 14).

 

A sense of our song can only be heard again when we are quiet enough to hear it.  It is so very easy to think that a certain song is our own, when in fact it has been given to us by someone else.  Sometimes we need another person to remind us of our song when we have forgotten it, when we cannot remember the melody.  As a result, we get into situations that create discord rather than harmony.

 

Although Jungs approach to patients differed markedly according to their needs, the aim of freeing their soul to breathe always seemed to be uppermost in his mind.  If a conventional Freudian approach seemed to help, he said that he would use that.  If more of an Adlerian approach were of benefit, then this would be employed.  A story that Laurens van der Post recounts bears out the unconventionality of Jung, yet it reminds us that he knew the nature and needs of the human soul.  He suited his treatment to the person: Jung saw a simple girl of the Swiss mountains who was going insane.  He got her to talk at length about all that she loved and enjoyed as a child.  There was a flicker of interest and he joined in the singing of her nursery songs, danced and rocked her on his knee.  After a few days, she was cured.  The girls doctor asked how it happened.  Jung wrote back, I did nothing much.  I listened to her fairy tales, danced with her a little, sang with her a little, took her on my knee a little and the job was done. (Jung and the Story of our Time, pp57-58).

 

Harmony is brought about not by imposition of different melodies, but by careful listening to other notes.  Harmony does not squash out these other notes; it fills them out.  Yet there is a cost to singing our own song.  Carl Jung was very good at reminding his readers that there is no one-stop flight to maturity and that the steps to maturity were necessarily immature.  The cost of singing oursong is transformation of the soul, not preservation of the ego.  The growing into consciousness involves coming into awareness of our song; ego control would prefer that we keep to a one-note melody line rather than a broadening into the richness that it could be.  Jung comments in a letter to Victor White:

 

There is no place where those striving after consciousness could find an absolute safety.  Doubt and insecurity are indispensable components of a complete life.  Only those who can lose this life can really gain it.  A complete life does not consist in a theoretical completeness, but in the fact that one accepts, without reservation, the particular fatal tissue in which one finds oneself embedded, and that one tries to make sense of it or to create a cosmos from the chaotic mess into which one is born.  If one lives properly and completely, time and again one will be confronted with a situation of which one will say: This is too much.  I cannot bear it anymore.  Then the question must be answered: Can one really not bear it? (Letters 2, p171).

 

The role of truth-speakers in our life cannot be underestimated, for we need them to tell us when we have forgotten our song.  They can help us remember our inherent beauty when we are overcome with a sense of ugliness; they can remind us of our inherent wholeness when all we can see and touch is broken.  We need them even and especially when we dont want to hear what we need to hear.  Life constantly tries to remind us when we are in tune with our deepest self and when we have lied to ourselves: the unconscious will not be denied.

 

 

Thus without music no discipline can be perfect, for there is nothing without it.  For the very universe, it is said, is held together by a certain harmony of sounds, and the heavens themselves are made to revolve by the modulation of harmony.

Music moves the feelings and changes emotions.  In battles moreover, the sound of the trumpet rouses the combatants, and the more furious the trumpeting, the more valiant their spirit.

Song likewise encourages the rowers, music soothes the mind to endure toil and the modulation of voice consoles the weariness of each labour.

Music also composes distraught minds, as may be read of David, who freed Saul from the unclean spirit by the art of melody.

The very beasts also, even serpents, birds and dolphins, music incites to listen to her melody.  But every word we speak, every pulsation of our veins, is related by musical rhythms to the powers of harmony.

- Isadore of Seville (c. 560 636), Etymologiarum

 

 

Bulletin Board

 

Embodied Dreamwork

A Workshop with Anne Di Lauro

 

When:   Saturday 16 November 2002 from 9.30am to 5.00pm

Where: Quaker Meeting House, 10 Hampson Street, Kelvin Grove

Cost:    $60

 

Embodied Dreamwork is a respectful and effective method of working on dreams developed by Robert Bosnak, a Dutch-born Jungian analyst practising in Cambridge, Mass. (USA). Through gentle questioning, the dreamer is helped to re-enter the dream and is guided to feel the emotions of the dream through the body, to hold the different states to which the dream images give rise, and in this way to reach a new awareness. In group dreamwork, all of the members of the group enter the dream and experience it with the dreamer. The dream belongs to the dreamer and is not interpreted.

 

Anne Di Lauro has been practising Embodied Dreamwork for five years in both cyberspace and real space. She has been involved in dream groups in Canada and Brisbane and is a qualified Cyberdreamwork facilitator, co-leading two of Robert Bosnaks Cyberdreamwork groups using the Internet and a voice communication software (see www.cyberdreamwork.com.