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The C. G. Jung Society of Queensland
Newsletter for January - March 2003
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 The C.G. Jung Society of Queensland

 

Newsletter - Mar 2003, Vol A, No 34.

 Letter from the President - On Astrology

 

Since our February talk is on Astrology, I thought members might be interested in a brief introduction to the subject with reference to Jungs interest in it. I have studied astrology since 1989 and currently half of my clients come for astrology consultations. It is a fascinating subject whose main value I believe is in showing the individual that his or her lifes journey is unique and that its uniqueness is reflected in the symbolism of the stars. Clients seeing this for the first time often have a feeling that they do have a place in the universe, even if they have lived their whole lives feeling themselves to be outsiders in society.

 While modern psychology, introduced by Freud, is little over a hundred years old, astrology is a form of psychology that is thousands of years old, its origins lost in history. The earliest known use of astrology seems to have been in the Sumerian civilisation.

 It is likely that astrology began when somebody recognised a correlation between human behaviour and the movement of the visible planets: Sun (the sun in astrology is referred to as a planet, although we know it is a star), Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Perhaps some people noticed increased aggression among men at a time when Mars and Saturn were close together in the sky. Perhaps they noticed a more jovial feeling in their tribe when Jupiter was opposite the Sun in the sky. Over time, a whole host of meanings and behaviours became associated with each planet.

 The astrological meaning of Mars today includes the principle of male energy, aggression, goal-oriented energy, impulsive behaviour, being a soldier, metalwork, surgery and adventure. Negatively, it includes dangerous and risky behaviour, foolhardiness and ego-centredness. The meaning of Jupiter includes joviality, optimism, expansiveness and growth, generosity, interest in travel, religion and the law as well as all forms of higher learning. More negatively, it includes over-expansion and over-optimism. The knowledge we have of astrology now has evolved through the cultures of Greece, Rome, the Arab world and the European middle ages to be added to by the principles of modern psychology, particularly Jungian psychology, in the twentieth century. (Several other traditions of astrology, such as Chinese and Hindu astrology are also practiced in the western world today.)

 In the past, astrology was primarily used to divine the future for kings and kingdoms. If it was possible to recognise that a particular type of aggression appeared among humans when Saturn came close to Mars in the sky. If you knew when the next astronomical occurrence of that event would be, you might expect some form of organised aggression at that time, maybe a rebellion. The astrologer could then advise the king to take appropriate action. He could recommend the best time to launch a war or to negotiate for peace. The only drawback for the astrologer was that, if he got it wrong, he was very likely to lose his head!

 Nobody knew why this correlation between particular planets and certain human behaviours existed. The philosophy developed that the planets caused human behaviour. Astrology became a fatalistic discipline.

 The twentieth century saw astrology become a popular interest with the publication of sun sign columns in the newspapers in the 1930s. However, the most useful information can be derived from a birth chart set up for the exact moment of ones birth at the place of ones birth. The particular placement of Mars, for example, in your birth chart will tell you much about the way you go about achieving your goals in life, how adventurous you are and how you would be prepared to fight for your rights. Astrologer Grant Lewi made it possible for people to construct and interpret their own natal chart using his book: Astrology for the Millions. This was first published in the nineteen-forties and it is still available today.  The twentieth century also saw a movement away from fatalism towards the possibility of free choice with regard to how one expresses ones birth chart potential in life. Saturn, traditionally, the bringer of death and misery became the principle of discipline and hard work which you could employ to turn your life to good account.

 Jung had much to do with moving astrology away from fatalism towards a more fluid understanding of the inner workings of the psyche although he did not seem to recognise this when, in 1954, he wrote: Obviously, astrology has much to offer psychology, but what the latter can offer its elder sister is less evident.

 Synchronicity. Jung saw in astrology the expression of synchronicity. There is no obvious reason why the position of a planet should have a particular meaning for an individual, yet it does. Jung wrote, In so far as there are any really correct astrological diagnoses, they are not due to the effects of the constellations but to our hypothetical time qualities. In other words, whatever is born or done in this moment of time has the quality of this moment of time. That is understood by astrologers to mean that the quality of the moment in time and place at your birth is reflected in you as well as in the particular configuration of planets in the sky at that time.

 Archetypes. Jung himself relates his archetypes to the planets of astrology. He wrote, Astrology, like the collective unconscious with which psychology is concerned, consists of symbolic configurations: the planets are the gods, symbols of the powers of the unconscious. Psychological astrology considers the outer planets of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, discovered relatively recently, to be the primary archetypal energies in astrology.

 Psychological Types. Thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition in analytical psychology are often thought to correlate respectively with the elements of air, water, earth and fire in astrology. The twelve signs are divided into three of each element. For example, planets in Aries, Leo or Sagittarius are in fire signs.

 Projection and Repression. Astrology now incorporates the concept of projection into the understanding of a natal chart. That is, qualities we are as yet unable to own in ourselves, but which are in fact ours, we project onto a partner, for example. In astrology, the seventh house and planets therein describe those qualities in ourselves, which usually show up in a partner. Negative qualities show up in our shadow, symbolised astrologically by Saturn, 12th house energies or any difficult or challenging configuration in the natal chart. Recognising astrologically that our enemies are in some way doing us a favour by carrying our projected shadow can help us to treat the enemy with some level of compassion. The Christian concept love your enemy, do good to those that hate you becomes relevant in this context.   Astrology also recognises that circumstances may force an individual to repress certain characteristics. For example the young girl with a strong Mars, i.e., a self-assertive, adventurous individual, may have to hide that characteristic if she grows up in a traditional household where women are supposed only to cook and co-create.

 The Symbolic Attitude. Astrology like Jungs psychology holds the assumption that various levels of meaning lie behind everyday occurrences. Astrologer and Jungian Maggie Hyde writes, How do Jungs views on the symbolic attitude relate to astrology and the way its practitioners work with and understand their symbols? Their intricate symbol system gives astrologers a highly developed symbolic attitude, consistent with Jungs definition. They perceive and hear the world through their symbol system. For example, a client might say that he has been burdened with responsibilities of late, his father has been ill and he failed to achieve an ambition at work. For the client, these events and feelings are the unhappy circumstances of his life and they are not at all symbolic. To the astrologer who knows that this man is twenty-nine, they are indicators of the Saturn return. The astrologer is, therefore, the one with the symbolic attitude who hears the world through astrological symbols, and he or she extends this symbolism into the world at large so that everything may be perceived within the astrological frame of reference. The purpose of this act of translation world becoming symbol is that it enables the astrologer to make connections, which could not otherwise have been made. Action may then follow or new insights might arise on the basis of these connections.

 Mythology. Just as Jung and Freud applied myth to our individual psychic development, astrologers who incorporate depth psychology apply myth, particularly Greek and Roman, to the understanding of a clients chart. For example, the woman with Pluto and Mars in her seventh house of relationships opposite her Sun may find herself acting out the myth of Persephone, who was abducted by Pluto and taken to the underworld. The modern woman with this chart might find herself in a violent relationship, so she disappears from life into the underworld when her partner forbids her from contact with family of friends. He tells her how to dress and when to go out. Like Persephone, whose mother negotiated with Pluto to release her for six months each year this abused modern woman might find herself periodically escaping the violent relationship, perhaps to a refuge, only to return again and again to the relationship. The astrologer might help the woman see the mythological tragedy she enacts and thus help her to a healthier level of expressing the Pluto (power) energy in her life.

 For those of you not already intrigued, I hope these ideas may give you an orientation to the wonderful subject of astrology   part science, part intuition as well as to Jungs interest in the symbolism of astrology.   I hope also that I might whet your appetite for our February speaker, Leoni Hodgson, an astrologer of considerable experience who also studied the life of Jung through her astrological training. Leoni follows a tradition of esoteric astrology highlighting the inner meaning of the astrological symbols. She runs her own astrology school and practice in Brisbane.

 Best Wishes,

 Frank Coughlan

frankacoughlan@bigpond.com


 


Book Review


James Hollis - Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places

(Toronto, Inner City Books, 1996, 155 p.).

 

Reading the works of James Hollis excites me because it reminds me of why I am a Jungian. And if I had to recommend just one book on what it means to live as a Jungian, Hollis Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places would be a strong candidate.

 James Hollis, a Zurich-trained Jungian analyst, is Executive Director of the Jung Educational Center in Houston, Texas, where he is in private practice.  He lectures widely in North America. I first encountered him about five years ago at a one-day seminar at the C.G. Jung Society of Montreal. I remember in particular the way in which he challenged us by remarking that at the end of the day there would be homework, which would be the rest of your life.

 In all of his books, which include The Middle Passage: from Misery to Meaning in Midlife (1993), Tracking the Gods: the Place of Myth in Modern Life (1995), The Eden Project: in Search of the Magical Other (1998), Creating a Life: Finding your Individual Path (2000) and On this Journey we Call our Life: Living the Questions (2002), Hollis brings clarity, poetry and his own personal vision and understanding of Jungs thought and psychology.

 Particularly refreshing is his way of presenting such Jungian concepts as Self, ego, individuation and soul.  Soul, Hollis says, is our word for the mysterious process through which we experience the movement towards meaning, an idea whose elusiveness and ambiguity we must honour. On the subject of individuation, he emphasises that it is not a narcissistic venture but a way of being better partners, parents and citizens because we are not burdening others with our own psychological baggage.

 The swamplands of the soul are the places that we all visit either ashamed, believing we are the only ones amongst our acquaintances to travel there, or denying even to ourselves that we ever visit them at all, avoiding acknowledgment by keeping frantically busy.  They are the dismal places of anxiety, depression, doubt, fear, guilt, loss, loneliness, grief, despair, betrayal, obsession, addiction, anger and angst. Hollis examines each of these dismal places by reflecting on case material.

 Of anxiety and depression he says, we are daily forced to choose between depression and anxiety. Depression results from the wounding of the individuation imperative; anxiety results from moving forward into the unknown. Anxiety is the price of a ticket on the journey of life; no ticket no journey; no journey no life.

 Hollis begins this book by introducing a revolutionary idea. Jungian psychology, he says, offers a different perspective on the purpose of life from the one commonly held. The goal of life is not happiness but meaning. He calls the modern fantasy of happiness pernicious because, impossible to attain, it renders us neurotic.

 The human psyche is driven to search for meaning, to ask, Whats it all about?  The answer is to be found . where else but in the swamplands. Many of our addictions and neuroses, says Hollis, are flights from suffering. Yet suffering is a prerequisite for psychological and spiritual maturation. It is the avoidance of suffering and defending ourselves against the wounding of life that result in neurosis.  Unless we are able to look at the existential discrepancy between what we long for and what we experience, unless we consciously address the task of personal spirituality, we will remain for ever in flight, or denial, or think of ourselves as victims, sour and mean-spirited to ourselves and others.  Avoiding the dismal states of the soul becomes itself a form of suffering says Hollis, and he quotes Jungs suggestion that neurosis must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul that has not discovered its meaning.

 Hollis deplores the fact that modern psychology ignores the concept of soul (since it cannot be measured) and suggests that any psychotherapy that does not address the issues of soul must remain superficial. The purpose of psychotherapy, says Hollis, is not to remove suffering but to move through it to an enlarged consciousness that can sustain the polarity of painful opposites.

 The most damaging thing we can do, he suggests, is condemn ourselves for our visits to the dismal places. We must instead make our sufferings our agenda. We must first name our devil and confront it at every hour.

 What distinguishes the human psyche is its imaginal capacity. We are not condemned, like mill horses, to go around in old patterns. We have the power to re-imagine ourselves. Indeed we are obliged to do so in order to live in the present, rather than living reactively to past wounds. This, he says, will not spare us from the swamplands, but we will be less contained by them.

 The pages of this book are dense with striking thoughts such as the suggestion that the message of Job is that there is no moral contract which we are able to strike with the universe compost for the mind indeed!

 What is so satisfying about this book is not only what Hollis has to say, but the soul-full way in which he interweaves quotations from writers who themselves have written of the swamplands with such poetic insight that they continue to appeal to the sensibilities of the modern soul - Milton (Hollis is fond of quoting the phrase Myself am Hell, from Paradise Lost), Goethe, Rilke, Baudelaire, Eliot, Nietszche, Blake, Hopkins and Yeats.  Pleasing to the eye are the evocative monoprints of Vickie Cowan that decorate the book.

 I cannot resist finishing with this quotation from Hollis on dreams: Just as we are pulled down into the swamplands of doubt and despair and the other dismal dozen, so too are we graced with healing images that seek to compensate, redirect and develop the conscious personality.

 - Anne Di Lauro


 


Bulletin Board


 

Upcoming Weekend Workshop Saturday and Sunday 17-18 May 2003

 Intensive Journal Life Context Workshop led by Kate Scholl

  Intensive Journal is a registered trademark of Ira Progoff and is used under license by Dialogue House

 Discover the wisdom deep within you and the beauty of your life in
                           the 
company of others. The workshop introduces the Ira Progoff method of 
journal writing, which opens up new insights
                           and enables you to live 
more deeply connected to your centre.
 The Intensive Journal offers a means
                           of making our inner life real and 
actualised in our outer life. We do this by exploring our life, in its many 
aspects, our
                           life history, our relationships, our work, the groups and 
organisations and hobbies that we give our energy to or have
                           given 
energy to in the past. It is by exploring these in an 'atmosphere of depth' 
where each person does their own
                           writing and includes in that time 'twilight 
imagery' and meditations which access the depth.
 Ira Progoff wrote the first doctoral
                           dissertation in the USA on Carl Jung at 
the New School for Social Research in the 1950's and then received a 
fellowship to
                           study in Zurich with Jung. Jung was most impressed with 
his work and encouraged him in the development of the Intensive
                           Journal.
 Kate Scholl is the executive director of the Eremos Institute and the only 
active accredited
                           Intensive Journal Consultant living in Australia. She will be 
leading workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
                           in 2003 and is happy 
to come to other regions as well. She invites people interested in knowing 
more about the
                           Intensive Journal to visit the website of Dialogue House in 
New York for more information on Progoff's work (www.intensivejournal.org), 
or visit the Eremos Institute website (www.eremos.org.au) for the workshops 
on offer in 2003.
 The Eremos bookshop carries At a Journal Workshop by
                           Ira Progoff, which 
explains all of the Intensive Journal methods.

 


AGM WILL BE HELD 6 FEBRUARY 2003 AT 6PM.  ALL INTERESTED MEMBERS PLEASE ATTEND.


Bulletin Board is a collection of information, which may be of interest to Society members.  It is not necessarily Jungian and is included at the discretion of the Executive.  Basic information is provided for those interested to follow up.  The Society cannot endorse or guarantee the quality of events or services.  To include information in Bulletin Board please send information to:

C G Jung Society of Queensland

74 Camp St

Toowong  Qld 4066

Ph Maree: 3371 1285

 

 


 

 


February Jung and Astrology

Thursday 6 February 2003 at 7:30 pm FOLLOWING THE AGM WHICH STARTS AT 6PM

St Marys Parish Hall, Cnr Merivale and Peel Streets, South Brisbane

Members and concession $5, Non-members $10

"We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born." - Carl Jung

 Leoni Hodgson, an experienced astrologer who runs her own school of astrology, will give the February talk at the Jung Society. Leoni studied astrology at university level in the USA. She follows a branch of astrology known as Esoteric astrology whose focus is to help the client better understand the spiritual principles uniquely affecting his or her life, thus enabling the client to make better choices in life.

 Her talk is intended to be both an introduction to some basic concepts of astrology as well as a look at the life of Jung through the lens of astrology, a subject she studied while at university.

 Jung himself studied astrology in depth. He referred to astrology as the summation of psychological knowledge from ancient times. A separate branch of astrology known as Archetypal Astrology evolved to incorporate knowledge from Jungian psychology. There are many parallels between the language of astrology and the language of Jungian Psychology. For example, the planets in the birth chart are symbols in the true Jungian sense, offering a multitude of possible interpretations without ever exhausting the meaning of the planet. Also, the astrological triplicities of fire, earth, air and water are often compared to the Jungian ideas of intuition, sensing, thinking and feeling, respectively.

 

March Meeting Moira, Goddess of Fate

 

Thursday 6 March 2003 at 7:30 pm

St Marys Parish Hall, Cnr Merivale and Peel Streets, South Brisbane

Members and concession $5, Non-members $10

In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted

-         C. G. Jung

Coming into this particular body, and being born of these particular parents, and in such a place, and in general what we call external circumstances.  That all happenings form a unity and are spun together is signified by the fates (Moirai).

-         Plotinus, II.3.15

 Fate is a highly controversial concept.  In the twentieth century we associate it with a loss of control and sense of personal powerlessness.  But although we often think of fate as random, something that takes away individual choice, this was never the ancient understanding.  The ancient concept of fate evolved from a vision of the cosmos as orderly and interconnected.

 Sarah Steele, an enthusiastic member of the Jung Society for three years and graduate of Psychology and Studies in Religion at the University of Queensland, will be confronting the questions and problems of fate.  She will explore the reasons why we never lose our fear of things that appear to have been ordained before we had any say in the matter.  Drawing on symbols from myths, legends, dreams, and astrology, as well as Jungian psychological concepts, she will explore the question of, "Are we fated or are we free?".

 

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 Please return to: C G Jung Society of Queensland,  74 Camp Street  Toowong  QLD  4066