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Reply To: The Beautiful, Hidden Harmony of Chaos,” with futurist Kristina Dryža”


Kristina; my apologies for such a late reply but I wanted some time to digest and mull over your wonderful insights concerning “Temenos” and the approach the psyche takes in digesting and integrating the unknown and unrealized content that is presenting a blockage that it must assimilate to move forward; and indeed; you offer a great way to think about this task.

You stated:

” This is why we need our temenos, to place all that which we have previously censored and not given voice to, so it can be held, witnessed and integrated.”

And later you add:

“When we make chaos or depression an ally and hold it close like a dear, beloved companion, the less power it has over us. It only wants to be seen. To be recognized and acknowledged.”


There are several ways to think about this challenge which as you suggest is often seen as something separate or apart of who and what we are; but as you wisely point out that it really is an unrealized part of ourselves that is asking to be; as you put it; “recognized and acknowledged”; and given a voice so to speak; at the table around which other parts of our psyche are asking for our attention as well.

One of the things I think is often left out of the conversation; or put another way; utilized as a tool for realization that the “transcendent function” will often ask for is a “symbol”; which like a tool becomes a mechanism to aid in this process. (The “Alchemists” of old were very aware of the cooking process that often took place to separate the: “gold from the base matter”; metaphorically speaking; otherwise known as the: “Prima Materia” in spiritual concerns and used symbols to utilize this process as well. For instance; we know Jung liked Mandala’s; and here is one type that has not always been recognized that I think is a great example for what we are discussing called the: “Mandorla”; that is a little bit different for contemplative purposes you may have thoughts on.

To further add to this idea about symbolic imaging in Diane Osbon’s: “Reflections on the Art of Living”; (on pages 155-158); Joseph goes into great detail about how one might envision and utilize a specific symbol to evoke this neglected part of ourselves and give it a voice; which is the double triangle of the Jewish: “Star of David”; as a psychological device and means of transition from one mental and emotional state to another. In other words; to work through the blockage so that the psychic energy of the libido can resume its’ natural flow until the next crisis presents itself; because as Jung reminds us; “We are in a constant state of becoming”; which understood another way; is to know that life is built on conflict; and we live in a world of opposites and are not going to prevent suffering but must learn how to navigate it.

So; we have crisis and chaos all around us; but by accepting this fact the challenge of harmonizing our conflicts promotes the growth our psyche is asking for to give life meaning and purpose in a universe that has no meaning; (we bring the meaning to it). In other words; if understood properly; he is saying your obstruction can become the means by which realization can be achieved.


“On page 157 Joseph states:

“When you find yourself blocked by a concretized symbol; (also read experience); from your childhood, meditation is a systematic discipline that will solve your problem. The function of meditation, ideally, would be to transcend the concretized response and deliver the message.

The first thing I’d do would be to think, “What are, specifically, the symbols that are still active, still touching me this way?” What are the symbols? There’s a great context of symbols in the world. Not all of them are the ones that afflict you. When you do find the symbol that is blocking you, find some mode of thinking and experience that matches in its’ importance for you what the symbol meant. You cannot get rid of a symbol if you haven’t found that to which it refers.

If you find in your heart a center of experience for which the symbol has been substituted, the symbol will dissolve. Think, “Of what is it the metaphor?” When you find that, the symbol will lose its’ blocking force, or it will become a guide.

This is the “knowing” part of “to know, to love, to serve.” If you’re in trouble with this part because you do not know what this thing refers to, then it will push you around. I’m very, very sure of that.

To dissolve such a concretization as an adult, you need to find what the reference is of the symbol is. When that is found, you will have the elucidation. The symbol will move into place, and you can regard it with pleasure: as something that guides you to the realization of what its message is., instead of a roadblock. This is an important point. That is the downward-pointed triangle. It is either an obstruction or the field through which the realization is to come.”

(The upward pointing triangle represents aspiration; the downward pointed triangle represents obstruction. This symbol represents the threshold which must be broken through to attain the realization you are seeking. Additional text mine.)


From Daryl Sharp’s Jungian Lexicon:

“Temenos. A Greek word meaning a sacred, protected space; psychologically, descriptive of both a personal container and the sense of privacy that surrounds an analytical relationship.

Jung believed that the need to establish or preserve a temenos is often indicated by drawings or dream images of a quaternary nature, such as mandalas.

The symbol of the mandala has exactly this meaning of a holy place, a temenos, to protect the centre. And it is a symbol which is one of the most important motifs in the objectivation of unconscious images. It is a means of protecting the centre of the personality from being drawn out and from being influenced from outside. [“The Tavistock Lectures,” CW 18, par. 410.]

Tertium non datur. The reconciling “third,” not logically foreseeable, characteristic of a resolution in a conflict situation when the tension between opposites has been held in consciousness. (See also transcendent function.)

As a rule, it occurs when the analysis has constellated the opposites so powerfully that a union or synthesis of the personality becomes an imperative necessity. . . . [This situation] requires a real solution and necessitates a third thing in which the opposites can unite. Here the logic of the intellect usually fails, for in a logical antithesis there is no third. The “solvent” can only be of an irrational nature. In nature the resolution of opposites is always an energic process: she acts symbolically in the truest sense of the word, doing something that expresses both sides, just as a waterfall visibly mediates between above and below. [The Conjunction,” CW 14, par. 705.]


So now we come to your wonderful insights which suggest that by listening and nurturing the: “wounded child or archetype” that is demanding to heard you are not only giving it voice but are claiming it as part of your lost inheritance. And these are only a few aids that suggest how one might think about this; but I so much agree with what you added; and appreciate the very thoughtful way you offered it. This exchange has been a joy to participate in; and I look forward to any other thoughts that you, Stephen, or anyone else might want to add.

Again; my apologies for my late reply but it really did take all this time to work through it; and I hope this addition did not take your original topic too far off course.