Let’s Get Back to the Dream

"Dreams are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche, outside the control of the will. They are pure nature; they show us the unvarnished, natural truth, and are therefore fitted, as nothing else is, to give us back an attitude that accords with our basic human nature when our consciousness has strayed too far from its foundations and run into an impasse."
  — The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man (1933)

"On dreams: “nothing is certain but uncertainty”"
  — Jung Vol. 16:148

Following on in our occasional series of Doorways into Jung, in this third session we will move into the room of dreams. Throughout history Dreams have fascinated people worldwide. Since the pioneering work of Freud and Jung on developing Dream Analysis as a key part of psychotherapy, many excellent approaches have continued to be developed/evolved to help make dreamwork much more accessible to the broad community.

With the internet now providing a plethora of opinions, formulas and approaches to dream interpretation – it seems timely in this presentation to focus back to Jung’s original writings on dreams. Jung never documented a particular structure for Dream analysis, and often warned against “one method” – but we can extract from his writings clues to both his underlying beliefs on dreaming and his approach to Dream Analysis. As well as exploring quotes from Jung’s original works the presentation will include video material from Jung and Marie Louise von Franz discussing dreams.

To provide a short perspective, we will also briefly look at approaches of post Jungians such as James Hillman. Recent Brain studies (EEG) during sleep and dreaming will also be discussed.

Peter Fisher was born in the UK, spent a few early years in Alexandria, and then moved to Sydney where he went to school and university. His background training as a metallurgist (BSc, PhD) expressed a strong inner fascination in “how things work”, and through metallurgy he came in contact with the symbology and terms of alchemy. This interest extended gradually to a deeper quest to understand his own psyche and its evolving. Peter has had a strong interest and interaction with Jung for over 20 years. He is a committee member of the Jung Society of Queensland, and has a very strong commitment to his own dreamwork, dream groups, the purity of dreams, and developing ways to make dreamwork more accessible to many people. He recently started a dream group through U3A at Noosa.

Dissociation and The Trauma Complex

In this presentation, drawing on the work of CG Jung, Peter Levine and in particular the contributions of Donald Kalsched (1996), I will explore the process of psychological dissociation that may result from cumulative relational stress and traumatic circumstances. I will also present Kalsched’s model of the trauma complex, (the psyche’s protective response to traumatic material), which he calls, “The Self Care System”.

Using material from my therapeutic practice I will demonstrate how dissociation and “The Self Care System” are given symbolic form in the psyche through dreams, nightmares, and other imaginal processes. These symbolic forms bring powerful ongoing inner destructive aspects of trauma into consciousness which in turn provide the foundation for therapeutic exploration, containment and integration.

Lois Whiteman has been practising social work for over thirty years. In the last fifteen years in her private practice she has specialised in complex trauma therapy with adult clients who have experienced traumatic or dysfunctional family lives, major loss, depression and anxiety. Since 1997 Lois has also worked at The Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) providing psychotherapy and support to clients who have come to Australia as refugees and asylum seekers; clinical supervision to counselling staff, and training in areas of trauma recovery, dreamwork and sandtray therapy.

Her current position at QPASTT is Clinical Services Manager. She is also a qualified yoga teacher. For more information visit her website, www.loiswhitemanpsychotherapy.com.au

Spirituality is Archetypal

John will be presenting the case that human spirituality was originally archetypal in essence. It was humanity’s way of coming into relationship with the sacred patterns of life and reality. This shifted with the advent of “world religions” which rebuilt spiritual foundations on a mythical-ideological base. The scientific endeavour and post-modernity have deconstructed these religious narratives. This is leading to a return to the archetypal nature of spirituality for many people (this time hopefully more conscious of its character) in which Jung’s insights will play an increasing important role.

John Power has a background in comparative religion and philosophy and has worked over the last 30 years as a spirituality and philosophy educator in schools in Australia and the UK and as an Anglican priest training clergy and lay people in creative responses to Australia’s shifting spiritual landscape. For many years he convened “Numinous”, the spirituality interest group of the Jung society in Melbourne. John currently works as the leader of St. Paul’s Spirituality Centre in Byron Bay and runs the website archetypalspirituality.org.

The Eclipse of Life – the Ice Queen reigns

The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber talked about, living under the shadow of Auschwitz, that humanity lived with the ‘eclipse of God’. I now wonder if we have moved beyond this ‘eclipse of God’, or as Nietzsche would say, ‘the death of god’, to a time of the ‘eclipse of life’.

We live in a time where political life has usurped the social and ecological life-worlds, rendering unbelievable violence towards people and ecosystems. The decay of democracy is underpinned by unprecedented collusion between corporations and government, and is allowing, or facilitating, the manipulation of the masses. The oceans are dying, and there is a proliferation of the death of many species.

The core of the problem, enabling this kind of violence and death, is a predominant worldview in which the world is understood as mechanical and dead – observed and experienced in increasingly abstract form. In this way of being, the world and the ‘other’, cannot be loved.

In this, the mythical ice-queen is a victor. She rules the land and it turns to ice. And she is everywhere, hell bent on destruction and making the land barren.

Revering abstraction, this lecture from dialogue, to soul, through to phenomenology, will consider my most recent work in both Creating Us: Community Work with Soul (Tafina Press, 2016), and Soul, Community & Social Change (Routledge, 2016). Drawing on a three-fold framework of soulful practice, ‘soul-of-the-world’ and ‘soul-force’, the works of R. Tagore and J. Hillman are examined before arguing for a phenomenological way of re-thinking social practice that is life-giving, and works from the ‘inside-out’. Henri Bortoft of Schumacher College, Mary Watkins of Pacifica College, and Allan Kaplan of The Proteus Initiative, provide signposts for a way forward in this ‘inside-out’ and phenomenological way of practice.

Peter Westoby is an Associate Professor in Social Science-Community Development at the School of Public Health/Social Work at Queensland University of Technology (QUT); a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Development Support, University of Free State, South Africa; and a director with Community Praxis Cooperative.

He teaches and researches on community and social development theory and practice, dialogue studies and forced migration studies. He has worked in youth, community and organisation development for 28 years, within South Africa, Uganda, Vanuatu, PNG, the Philippines and Australia. He has published ten books, and 40+ professional journal articles. He is known for monograph’s such as Dialogical Community Development (2013) (Routledge), Soul, Community and Social Change (2016) (Ashgate/Routledge), and The Sociality of Refugee Healing (2009) (Common Ground); and has also edited several volumes including, with Shevellar, Learning and Mobilising for Community Development (2012) (Ashgate).

Peter particularly loves bush walking, swimming, hanging out in independent book shops, drinking good quality coffee, and home-making.

XMAS Presentation

‘Wisdom of Changes’ is a film about Richard Wilhelm, the acclaimed translator of the I Ching. It is a documentary made by his granddaughter Bettina, whose father was Wilhelm’s youngest son. The importance of Wilhelm, both for the West’s understanding of the breadth and depth of Chinese wisdom, as well as his profound influence on C. G. Jung, cannot be underestimated. From the cover of the DVD:

Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930) is regarded as the European who discovered China’s spiritual world. ‘Wisdom of Changes’ is a documentary film about the life and work of the most distinguished translator and mediator of classical Chinese culture to the West. Like C. G. Jung, with whom he was friends from the 1920s, Richard Wilhelm went in search of the universal wisdoms of mankind, those that resist the changes of history.

The voice of Richard Wilhelm: Jonathan Pryce.

The Excluded Middle: Buddhism, Phenomenology, Transfinite Arithmetic, Zen, Cusanus and Jung

This talk explores the emergence of parallel ideas from diverse realms of human thought. It begins by examining the so-called “Law” of the Excluded Middle between opposites in Western logic, and quickly moves into a discussion of Buddhist logic. Having introduced Buddhism, it is then characterised as a religious philosophy which seeks to move between extremes or opposites, through the Middle.

Colin will then show that Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, was also seeking to take the middle path between opposite views in his investigation of consciousness. But Husserl was also a mathematician seeking to understand its very foundations and so this naturally leads into the world of mathematics where simple ideas can introduce us to an infinity of infinities, and the coming together of finite and infinite. He will explain why Buzz Lightyear was right! And then show that these ideas of different kinds of infinity may be found in, of all places, Mahayana Buddhism.

But for one kind of Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, there is no inside or outside, no going between options, indeed no concepts of any value at all — even Buddhist ones. Zen according to DT Suzuki, is “a wafting cloud in the sky” (IZB, 41). Zen is the iconoclast here, shooting down any dependence on conceptual thinking.

Most interestingly, Jung wrote a foreword to the Suzuki book on Zen quoted above and this naturally takes us on to Jung and his writings on Buddhism. The talk finishes by focussing on Jung’s notion of opposites and the part they play in his understanding of the psyche. In the process light is also thrown on one of Jung’s key influences, Nicholas of Cusa (or Cusanus) who speaks of the coincidence of opposites (coincidentia oppositorum) in his mathematical theology.

Dr Colin Weightman is currently a freelance scholar and writer. His career began by completing an honours degree in pure maths. He then studied a diploma in education and spent two years as a teacher in Bordertown. At this point he became increasingly religious and returned to Adelaide where he obtained a degree in theology, while tutoring maths for a living.

On completion he gained a position as a pastoral assistant in the Southport UC parish. This led to him becoming a UC minister. While a theology student he obtained a doctorate in religion and philosophy-of-science at UQ . This was published by Peter Lang, New York in 1994. In addition he studied Buddhism in his pre-doctoral studies. He became a minister for 10 years, but became increasingly disillusioned with the church, eventually leaving. This was a traumatic time, and he reverted to the occupation of maths tutor, but it was through his students that he was introduced to Jung by a masters candidate, Gail Godfrey and collaborated with her while she completed her training in Guided Imagery and Music.

His main task now is to finish seven books on topics from Nepal to music to spirituality to sexuality to mathematics.

Quantum Paradox and the Pauli-Jung Conjecture

About a decade ago in Dharamsala, in discussion with the Dalai Lama, the experimental physicist Anton Zeilinger raised the possibility that knowledge, or knowing, may be more fundamental than material reality. This is not a new philosophical position either in the East or the West but it is particularly significant, especially in view of the strong materialistic bent of the West since the Enlightenment, in that it emerges so naturally out of the paradoxes of quantum physics.

Indeed, it was very much because of the perplexing anomalies of microphysics that C. G. Jung was so keen to collaborate with Wolfgang Pauli in the development of his philosophical ideas, including the theory of synchronicity. The position they arrived at has in recent years been described as the Pauli-Jung Conjecture, and is really only now starting to get the mainstream recognition it deserves. It also provides an explanation for what the physicist Nick Herbert has called the ‘great quantum dilemma’.

Most people have an idea that some sort of quantum weirdness exists below the level of everyday reality. However, this is not something taught in schools or discussed in the media in much more than a cursory or superficial way. Fortunately, it does not require a degree in physics to understand the quantum enigma and hopefully this presentation will be helpful at least in providing some food for thought.

Laurence Browne was awarded a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Queensland in 2014. He lives in Brisbane with his wife and younger daughter and enjoys travelling and writing. In 2017, his thesis was published by Imprint Academic of Exeter, UK, under the title The Many Faces of Coincidence.

The Future of Apocalyptic

Of course apocalyptic has a future. It’s all about the future! The word apocalyptic itself (from Greek meaning an uncovering or revealing) is understood today as speculation and predictions about the end of the world. It is also used to describe contemporary disasters if they have apocalyptic-like features as in the movie Apocalypse Now (1979).

In the 1970s the chief pin-up boy of popular Christian apocalyptic fervour was American pastor Hal Lindsey and his enormously popular The Late Great Planet Earth (Zondervan). I was caught up in this for a time and even published a book on the subject called These Cry Wolf! (which I now keep hidden in my study).

After describing my own experiences I will examine what books constitute the Christian apocalyptic writings. In the bible the two pre-eminent apocalyptic writings are Daniel in the OT and Revelation in the NT. Outside the bible I must add the Jewish apocalyptic work The Book of Enoch especially as it is much quoted by Jung.

But apocalyptic also has a long past. The history of apocalyptic goes back to the dawn of civilization and every major religion has its apocalyptic writings. I will examine Buddhist apocalyptic, as well as the current rise of apocalyptic thinking in Islam, particularly among extremists like ISIS.

Finally I will examine what Carl Jung has to say on apocalyptic. This will bring us to his 1952 work on the OT book of Job which he called Answer to Job (ATJ). Most of what Jung says on apocalyptic, the end-times, and human history is squashed into ATJ. He moves from the history of individuals to the history of humanity’s understanding of “God”, or the Godconcept. Jung uses Job as the starting point for a survey of history from creation to the future apocalypse. ATJ is a psycho-biography of God. Or put more carefully, it is an account of the development of the God-archetype in the collective unconscious, over history. I will conclude by examining Jung’s comments on Revelation in ATJ.

Colin Weightman is a freelance scholar and writer who began his university studies in physics and pure maths. Branching out, he later undertook a degree in theology and became a UC minister. While a theology student he gained a doctorate in religion and philosophy-ofscience at UQ which was published by Peter Lang. Colin served parishes in Qld and NSW for ten years, but became disillusioned with the church and reverted to the occupation of maths tutor.

Subsequently he met Gail Godfrey when he tutored her daughters, and later collaborated on various projects. Her recent work in music psychotherapy was based on Jungian principles, and thus Colin became interested in Jung. He is currently writing books on Nepal, music, spirituality, sexuality and mathematics. Colin is the society’s new librarian.

The Curious History of the Flammarion Woodcut

This widely reproduced image has long captured the popular imagination. Although at one time thought to have been created during the Renaissance, the origin of the woodcut (or more accurately a wood engraving, according to Wikipedia) has been traced to L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire (1888) by the astronomer and science writer, Camille Flammarion.

The woodcut has been very widely reproduced and adapted, especially since the late sixties, when it represented the counter-cultural quest of young ‘pilgrims’ in search of the secrets of the universe far beyond the ‘flat earth’ perspective of materialistic society. Over the years, the illustration, in various guises, has appeared on cards and posters, in books and brochures, and is widely available on the internet. The details of the woodcut have been interpreted in many different ways, usually with the theme of a transition from ignorance to knowledge.

C. G. Jung includes the woodcut as an illustration in his essay, Flying Saucers: a modern myth of things seen in the skies. He equates the disc-like shape of flying saucers, as UFOs were known in the 1950s, with the projection of mandalas from the unconscious. His associate Marie-Louise von Franz goes further. She reproduces the image in her book Number and Time and makes use of the illustration as a pictorial metaphor for synchronicity, pointing out the symbolic significance of two features in particular:
1) the open hole in the fabric of the known world, and
2) the functionally untenable double wheel.

These and other interpretations of this famous image will be explored during the talk.

Laurence Browne was awarded a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Queensland in 2014. He lives in Brisbane with his wife and younger daughter and enjoys travelling and writing. In 2017, his thesis was published by Imprint Academic of Exeter, UK, under the title The Many Faces of Coincidence.

Ancient Feminine Wisdom for Turbulent Times: The Sumerian Goddess Inanna and her Journey to the Underworld

In Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq), the Sumerian Goddess Inanna (Ishtar) was more loved and honoured than any other deity, male or female.  Known as the Queen of Heaven, she was worshipped as the Goddess of Love, War, and Fertility as well as Venus, the Morning and Evening Star.  Her presence in cuneiform texts dates back to 1900 B.C.E. Sumeria,  considered the cradle of civilisation. She continued to be worshipped in the Middle East at least to the time of the Bible where she is referred to as the Queen of Heaven.

Inanna’s myth cycle is reportedly also our oldest written story. It was inscribed on clay tablets, which became broken and were held in various museums in different countries. But when the pieces of the puzzle were painstakingly and finally put together in the 1980’s, academics and storytellers realised this oldest of tales was still a myth for our times.

Now in 2019, as human hubris threatens all life on earth and warnings of civilisation collapse loom, perhaps the tale of Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld holds more significance and medicine than ever, not only for women but for humanity. How can Inanna’s Descent and the archetype of her dark sister, Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal , help us as we collectively deal with the grief of the destruction currently being wrought by our civilisation on humans, creatures and nature?  How do we prepare ourselves for these times of rapid change, let go of the expectations we have while continuing to take constructive action in our lives, rather than sliding into disabling despair and inaction?

Drawing on the ideas of Jungian analyst, Sylvia Brinton Perera, in “Descent to the Goddess” Jenni will perform extracts from the Descent myth, while weaving commentary on its relevance in this current moment of human history.  She will share ways to use the myth as a beautiful roadmap for a life of courage, resilience and richness.

Award-winning professional storyteller and storytelling coach, Jenni Cargill-Strong, first performed Inanna’s myth cycle as her graduating performance at The Drama Action Centre in Sydney. A trained secondary teacher, specialising in English, she has taught storytelling to teachers, librarians, parents and children and university students. Her involvement in activism led her to begin teaching environmental storytelling. However, as the essential principles in her workshops applied to change-making of many kinds, she expanded into ‘Storytelling for Changemakers’. Jenni curates ‘Stories in the Club’, a monthly community concert in her hometown of Mullumbimby. She is also a trained facilitator of ‘Joyality: a program for personal and planetary transformation’.