The Architecture of the Soul

Who does not dream of buildings? Houses, places we live or have lived, the same yet different, with secret doors, passageways to new rooms, stairs to basements, hidden courtyards, windows opening to vistas only now glimpsed or maybe a soul house, somewhere we have not lived but visit in our dreams. The homes we live in speak volumes not only of our personalities but also our inner psychic structures. This is especially true when a house is designed and built by the owner and lived in for the majority of his life. Such is the case for Carl Jung and his lakeside home in Kusnacht. He designed, built, raised children in and composed voluminous writings at this architecturally impressive site. His grandson, Andreas Jung, lives in the house to this day. Jung also built a tower at Bollingen. This was a retreat, a physical expression of the part of Jung that he called his ‘number two personality.’

In this presentation we will be exploring buildings as expressions and containers of Soul. The evening will be in three parts:
Architecture of the Soul: Selections from the DVD recording of a fascinating conversation between Dr. Murray Stein and Andreas Jung that offers us a rare glimpse into this part of Jung’s life.

Reflections on Stone, Place, Community and Totem: Marie Makinson will share images and reflections on being the designer and owner builder of a hand built house in Northern NSW.

Audience Participation: We will be inviting the audience to return after a short break to share their stories, thoughts and experiences in a facilitated discussion about the topic.

Archetypes of Chaos

We tend to flee from disorder and chaos, identifying chaos with evil and destruction. However what if spiritual, social and psychological growth necessarily involves living with, or passing through, chaos?

Jung differed from our usual Western approach, embracing the fragmentary propositions of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, about world as flux, and the productive and disordered struggle between opposites. This view was reinforced after Jung’s studies in alchemy when he suggested that the experience of chaos, the materia confusa, is also the experience which both leads to transformation and is essential to transformation. At this time, the order that the ego wishes to impose on the world or the unconscious no longer works, and this failure is the moment of the possibility of new life. The whole spirit is hidden in chaos, and disorder is not just to be feared. Indeed, we might say that life is that which resists order and predictability, and the more we are alive, the more fraught is the relationship between what we call order and disorder.

This talk investigates what it might mean to take chaos and disorder seriously, by exploring symbols and images of chaos in mythology, and by a return to hidden messages of the ‘collective dream’ of alchemy.

Jonathan Marshall is an anthropologist and a Research Fellow at the University of Technology in Sydney. He is the author of Living on Cybermind: Categories, Communication and Control and Jung, Alchemy and History, and the editor of Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change.

Doing Nothing As Therapy (Or at least doing very little!)

Although the title is facetious, it is my attempt to highlight the role of a therapist when doing very little, maybe even nothing. Doing little does not mean that the little is not very influential. It may be more accurate to say that the therapist is working at deep and subtle levels. I am talking about something like the Taoist concept, Wu Wei— masterful inactivity.

In this talk, I want to describe and explore examples of this in certain therapies and therapists. At the time of writing, examples from Embodied Dream Imagery, from Sandtray Work and from a Sikh healing method come to mind as well as my own experience of Deep Imagery. In a way, I wish to move focus away from the heroic (masculine) therapeutic intervention that demands our attention to the not-so-easily-noticed (feminine) dimensions of the healing relationship.

Frank was President of the C.G. Jung Society of Queensland for 5 years to 2006. Since 1994, he has specialized in Deep Imagery as a healing process in individual and in group work. In 2006, Frank and his family were the subject of a widely-acclaimed SBS documentary showing his and his family’s creative and inspirational response to the death of their daughter, Maeve aged 10, in a road accident in 2003. Frank worked for 7 years in statutory child protection work in Dublin and for 7 years as a supervisor of counselors at Kids Help Line in Australia. Frank is a professional member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. He maintains a private practice in Brisbane.

Living mythically or death by myth?

Can we learn from indigenous mythic traditions to live beyond the literal? With all our unconscious cultural baggage there is always the danger of fantasy projection – some myths can kill.

For the most part, the majority of us live in a literal ego world – the world of one – where we dwell on the individual (I) and individual (my) stuff. Psychology introduces us to the world of two – relationships between binary oppositions – life and death, male and female, good and evil, ego and self, etc. Engaging in the mythic world releases the third – the charm, that which keeps the world alive through imagination. Psychology can mediate between the mythic and the literal – deepening the literal but reducing the mythic through analytical explanation – but then we come to Jung who is, one might say, soaked in myth…*

Reading his works can be an infuriatingly obscure process to a mind accustomed to lucid definitive concepts because Jung seems reluctant to provide closure of meaning (although many Jungians have tried to attach fixed meanings to his concepts from which are derived those literalistic tests and labels which are so nice and easy for the ego to grasp!). Perhaps the psychology he was working towards engaged at a deeper mythic level where imagination displaces meaning – and indeed, growing out of Jung’s work we have the new field of archetypal psychology which sees myth as the language of the psyche.

Some indigenous traditions around the world are still in touch with a living mythology. So they provide much for us to learn, but more often than not, in the literal fixation of our culture, we project that which we have repressed within the culture outward upon others – and through such mythic projection we can literally kill.

In the 1980s I spent a couple of years living in the Kalahari with people who call themselves Ju/’hoansi (truthful or upright people) – but who are known to outsiders as Bushmen. This was a wonderful fulfilment of a boyhood dream. I had been fascinated by the Bushman culture through extensive reading of the late Jungian writer Sir Laurens Van der Post who had conjured up images of a magical Bushman world in non-fiction works such as The Lost World of the Kalahari and Heart of the Hunter. Through getting to know and love Ju/’hoansi as persons rather than as archetypes, I came to understand the dangers of mythic projection and how the works of Van der Post, and films such as The Gods Must be Crazy.

And yet I also began to learn something of the mythic or spiritual ways of the Ju/wasi. My adopted ‘kin’ father, /Gunda was an “owner of medicine” who would enter into what Ju’hoansi called the “half-death” to engage in battle with spirits for purposes of healing. In November last year, I returned to the Kalahari to meet up with old friends and make a film about what had happened to them since I had lived with them 20 years ago. I asked /Gunda about the role of dreams and about N/um – the healing energy which is at the focus of the medicine dance – and about his role as a N/um Kxao – an owner of N/um.

Living Mythically or Death by Myth?

In my talk I will show some extracts of films involving trance dance healing of the Ju/’hoansi and if there is time, some trance dance activities from other cultures to explore the importance of the mythic world in indigenous cultures and see how we might engage more mythically in our own lives. I will also be discussing the archaic hunter archetype and suggesting how its long suppression has led to external projection with dire consequences for the receivers of our romantic fantasies about a lost paradise where archaic hunters seem to float across a Pleistocene dreamscape of yellow grass and acacia trees. Yet awakening from such fantasies can lead us to turn inward and re-imagine our own bottomless well of the past which reflects archetypal beginnings – and that part of us which also resides in extremis – on the creative margins of our inner world.

With regard to a more local focus, I will also be drawing on some of my current field work which involves filming oral histories with Elders in an indigenous community in Arnhem Land where I have been learning about myths and rituals of the Guinwinggu people.

The image of being “soaked in myth” came to me in a vivid dream I had just after I had read the email from Anne asking me to write something about my talk. I was running through an ancient forest in the pouring rain in a smock type garment which was somehow keeping me remarkably dry and in which I was not at all uncomfortable. There was a group of people following in a car, and we took a sharp left turn. I came to a deserted temple inside which was a large swimming pool – yet the waters were not clear and I had a hunch that there were crocs hiding in the depths. I also knew that the waters were sacred to the indigenous people of the area. I was reluctant to plunge in, but waded in a short way – feeling the waters of life on my limbs.

Adrian Strong is currently undertaking doctoral research at Griffith University in the field of ethnographic film, with particular reference to the representation of indigenous people. Adrian grew up in the UK, where he studied Science and Philosophy before moving to Africa in 1984. There he had many work incarnations ranging from farming to development work to business. It was in the late 1980s that Adrian lived and worked in the Kalahari with the Ju/’hoansi and also developed an interest in film-making. In 1997 Adrian moved from Namibia to California for additional post-graduate studies, gaining a Masters in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has been living in Australia since 2000, where he has also worn many hats, but is at his happiest teaching, researching and film-making.

Preparing the body for grace: Jung and the somatic dimensions of religious experience

Jung is singular among the early depth psychologists in recognising the importance of religious or numinous experience as central to psychological growth. However, in his focus on the spontaneous nature of numinous experience, Jung diminishes the significance of an active approach to religious experience as a result of his critique of ritual. It is argued that this is a significant omission, particularly in Western Culture, as religious ritual and practice are important insofar as they include an experience of the body, which provides the ground and container for the symbolic dimensions of religious experience. Jung’s own methods of facilitating psychological growth through dream analysis and active imagination are forms of symbolic and imaginal practice. This is congruent with the key place of symbols in Jung’s work as he understands that “it is in them that the union of the conscious and unconscious is consummated” (CW9 p289). Although Jung proposed a spectrum model of psychic reality that encompasses the somatic through to the imaginal, the somatic dimension is not fully reflected in his approach to the numinous. This paper suggest that intentional somatic practices, that explicitly includes the psyche-soma interaction, are an important adjunct to any symbolic dialogue with emerging unconscious processes, and may facilitate both the experience and containment of the numinosum.

Forrest James M. An. Psych, B. App. Sci., Ad. Dip G.T. is a psychotherapist, supervisor and organisational consultant. He gained his Masters in Analytical Psychology from the University of Western Sydney.

The Dark Night of the Soul

The term “dark night of the soul” was first used by St. John of the Cross, a Christian mystic who lived in 16th century Spain, to describe his journey to the other side. When, after pain and suffering and psychological darkness, he surrenders his life to God, he has a mystical experience.

One dies and is born again and for this moment attains unity with the divine. One experiences no thing ness as Meister Eckhart says and experiences the love of God. This is a journey inwards where one surrenders his or her ‘self’ to a higher ‘Self’. One experiences eternal life and love. One becomes a mystic. It is an experience and journey beyond words. One tastes and savours God and is touched by divine love and interconnectedness of all. One sees beauty even in the broken and yearns to return to this state. There is no more fear of dying. One has found God, experienced universal love, one has experienced eternal life. Rumi, a Sufi mystic said:

“I see and know all times and worlds
As one, one, always one.”

All mystics have experienced a “Dark Night of the Soul”. Research shows that Jung also went through a “Dark Night of the Soul”.

Brigitta beer, d. min. is an interfaith minister, psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. Brigitta has researched her own “dark night of the soul” and its transformational outcome. It is published in book form as “mystics yesterday and today”.

Telling our Stories, Healing our Hurts

Myths offer us metaphors for the powerful archetypal forces at play in our ordinary lives. We sometimes forget that our own lives have all the elements of a powerful myth: joy, suffering, triumph, failure, birth, death, love and loss.
Jenni developed the workshop ‘Telling Our Stories, Healing Our Hurts’ after co-ordinating and participating in Bridget Brandon’s weekend retreat ‘Writing the Story of Your Life’ in 2007.

“Before Bridget’s course,” said Jenni, “I hadn’t thought I had enough interesting material from my life to make compelling story. I had been such a good girl. I never did anything very wicked or rebellious or adventurous. However Bridget’s provocations connected me with several powerful experiences in my life which others found compelling when I retold them. One story that surfaced strongly and rather unexpectedly was about the mulberry tree I loved to play in as a child. One holiday, while we were away, our neighbour ringbarked it. “For me, writing and then retelling that story was immensely healing. It gave me the opportunity to reassess stuff that had been locked away in my heart since early childhood, and look at it again from an adult perspective. Whenever I tell that story now, young and old connect with it deeply, which has inspired me to create other personal and family stories especially for my children. ”

In ‘Telling Our Stories, Healing Our Hurts’ Jenni will playfully lead participants through fun exercises to mine their own family stories and anecdotes and then retell them. Jenni has been telling stories professionally for fourteen years. Jenni trained at the Drama Action Centre full time from 1990 to 1991 in Sydney, where the training had a pschychodramatic basis. As well as specialising in storytelling, she studied mime, voice, Le Jur, mask, dance, rhythm, movement, clowning and improvisation. She has taught for the Sydney Opera House Bennelong Program, has performed and taught at Woodford Folk Festival since 1993, The Byron Bay Writers Festival 2004 and The Whole Woman Festival 2007 and 2008. She told stories from Perth to Hobart to Auckland for eight years, released two CD’s of stories and songs and then founded The Story Tree Company. Her first CD “Wonder Tales of Earth and Sea” received an award from the National Library of Australia in 1999 and her more recent CD “The Mermaid’s Shoes” has just won ‘Honours’ in the 2008 US ‘Storytelling World Awards’ in the ‘Recorded Stories’ category!

Jenni’s trainers at the Drama Action Centre used a very hands-on approach and Jenni teaches in a similar way, but has adapted the exercises for those without a background in drama. She uses simple, fun games, group work and pair work. Her aim is to make storytelling in its many applications accessible and fun to the wider community.

Going into the ‘Great Deep’

The notion of the ‘collective unconscious’ has been increasingly challenged by some contemporary Jungians. Following on with her “foundations of Jungian thought” series, Marie Makinson takes a fresh look at this cornerstone of Jung’s ideas.

In 1936 Jung wrote an article for an English medical journal in which he tried to clarify and contain his daring and controversial idea regarding an impersonal, universally given and autonomous area of the deep psyche. His exasperation is palpable as he proceeds to tie the idea firstly to ‘scientifically’ sanctioned notions about the instincts and then to the work of others in such fields as comparative religion and mythological studies. As a preamble to this article he writes:

“Probably none of my empirical concepts has met with so much misunderstanding as the idea of the collective unconscious.”

Now, as then, the controversy and perhaps the misunderstandings prevail. For Jung the key word in the above was empirical. He was attempting to name a manifest psychic content of emotionally charged images and ideas encountered repeatedly in his own work. The events unfolding in Europe at the time of writing the article would no doubt have added to the urgency of his argument that we should not overlook the tremendous powers that lay hidden in the psyche.

In this talk Marie will attempt to clarify what Jung has said about the collective unconscious and the way the idea is linked with his other major concepts. She will also include some material from her own work as well as some from contemporary Jungian writers to demonstrate the vibrancy and relevance of the ideas in practice and how they continue to develop today.

Marie Makinson is a Jungian analyst working in private practice in Lismore NSW. Marie trained at The Guild of Analytical Psychology and Spirituality in London and considers her work to be in the classical Jungian tradition. Before training, she practiced for more than twenty years as a massage therapist and this, and a lively personal and family connection to the arts, are other important influences on her work. Marie’s current practice also incorporates sandplay therapy as developed by Jungian Dora Kalff.

Jung and Astrology

It should be no surprise to find that Jung carefully studied the symbolic language and practice of astrology.

He brought attention to the great cycles of astrology, especially the age of Pisces, relating to the 2000-year period of Christianity and its Piscean symbol: the fish. Jung also played a large part in the development of modern astrology as a psychological practice that understands the symbols of astrology to be living symbols in the Jungian sense. He has thus helped to move astrology away from fatalistic determinism and towards a language that facilitates communication between our conscious and unconscious selves, between our surface and our deeper selves.

This talk will explore Jung’s ideas about astrology. The presentation is open to all. No knowledge of astrology by attendees is assumed.

Frank Coughlan was president of the C. G. Jung Society of Queensland for five years. He has studied and practised astrology for 15 years, including a period as newsletter editor for the Queensland Federation of Astrologers. Frank is a professional social worker in private practice as a counsellor and therapist. His primary work is in facilitating clients’ inner work through spontaneous imagery, a meditative process. He also works in pastoral care at a Brisbane Primary school.

Gnostic Concepts in Jung’s Septem Sermones ad Mortuos (Seven Sermons to the Dead)

This talk, by Rev Mr. Prenna Unsane and Dr Ralf Muhlberger of the Saint Theresa of Avila Community, a Narthex of the Apostolic Johannite Church in Brisbane, will describe key concepts from Jung’s 1916 Gnostic text Seven Sermons to the Dead from the perspective of 21st century Gnostic practice, with a focus on how we apply these concepts today.

You can find the text of Seven Sermons to the Dead at http://www.freewebs.com/navanath/seven_sermons.html

Prenna Unsane is a seminarian in the Apostolic Johannite Church and the Narthex Leader of the Saint Teresa of Avila community here in Brisbane. Prenna also has experience in the Western Magical Tradition, Neuro Linguistic Programming, and hypnosis.

Dr Ralf Muhlberger is a lecturer at the University of Queensland, where he investigates how we build different mental models of ourselves and our world, and how an understanding of our internal mental models can help us design more successful ways of interacting with others. Ralf has over 25 years meditation and transformation experience in both Eastern and Western traditions, with a personal practice that is strengthened by his professional research and consulting work.