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Reply To: Releasing the Dreamings,” with mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.”


    Doro and Sunbug, I think you have both illustrated a very insightful point concerning how the individuation process unfolds concerning Jung’s idea of “repression and the shadow complex”; especially in terms of “integration of the shadow”. Two quotes caught my eye that seem to refer to this process.

    Doro said: “That means working hard to disconnect from defense mechanisms, vanity, recognition and all the other unrealistic predatory illusions that detach us from the fantastic planetary showtime we so quickly reject.”

    And Sunbug said:
    “Maybe the pain reflects our “thirst” both real and perhaps spiritual?
    My sense is that a centering in Awareness would allow for a potential change in energy both individually and collectively where discernment is more present…than blind judgement…and an Awareness, which is not only aware of more than itself but is not so deeply and understandably rooted in painful or fearful emotions or frustrated ones that it can no longer feel the Life Giving Waters of the River.

    Because if the Centered awareness is not there, then my guess is that it’s pain, (real pain) which takes center stage and that makes communication very difficult. Because it is the Pain being addressed and the Pain addressing you back not simply the person in pain or frustration …and it’s not going to be a normal conversation.
    Or fear. There is a difference between facing, embracing or acknowledging fear and thinking with fear…because   fear can paralyze…and can turn to anger…which may harm both an individual and others around them.

    And that’s why I choose kindness…”


    I think Joanna can probably do a much better job at this than I can, but here is what struck me concerning how our attitudes can change by changing our perception; (which is what Jung and Campbell try to illuminate, at least as I see it). The libido, or psychic energy, gets stuck by a blockage of some sort for any number of reasons; and as both Joseph and Jung try to explain we need a symbol or experience of some sort to open it up; something that gives us a way to relate or marry both sides so that this flow can resume. Jung calls this symbol making process the: “Axum of Maria”; which has to do the (transcendent function) which makes a third thing, or bridge if you will, that unites or creates a new way of seeing or interpreting this tension what is pulling you apart. “One becomes two, which creates 3, which makes a fourth”.

    Sounds strange I know, but Joseph describes this a little bit differently by saying when you are stuck or held between two opposing forces you must find the “middle” way. One example he uses in one of his lectures is you want to find some sort of symbolic realization that will help you to transform the way you look at your situation, whether through your art or some kind of activity that helps you symbolically address what is going on inside you and resolve it. (The link above I provided may help to describe this process a little better than I’m doing at the moment), but another example would be Jung’s: “Red Book”; which he used to write down his dreams and draw pictures. There are numerous stories about Jung and how he used this process to build his house at Bollingen in Zurich; but the point is to help you connect with your inner world in a way to open up and release what is blocking you.

    Pattrick Slattery uses a question in his approach to personal writing where he asks himself in this clip: “What am I about?”  Joseph asks us: “What did you like to do as a child?” and describes the (act of play) as how to think about this process. But find something you love that will help you access it. One quote Joseph used in one of his lectures is: “Take the guy you want to murder and beat him at golf”; but the point is to help access and integrate your “Shadow”; which is going to come up and pay you a visit whether you know it or not. Shadow content is usually related to “a complex”; and as the saying goes: “complexes have us”; not the other way around. They come up out of nowhere and blindside us because they have been repressed. Joseph describes the way these things in the psyche are constellated and talks about how the shadow works. This is what we have to know and learn to recognize as described in this part of his lecture: “Psyche and Symbol”.

    So, to repeat myself, as I mentioned I’m sure Joanna can do a much better job of explaining all of this than my humble attempt which is pretty ragged and full of holes no doubt; but that’s my understanding that was triggered by the excellent earlier text I extracted from Doro and Sunbug. So, I’m hoping she has more to add about this.


    (A quick word of clarity concerning art therapy and “symbolic realization”. Yes, the clip was about the “sacred space” which is usually referred to as Temenos that exists between client and therapist; but in this case we are “also” talking about the individual and their expression of their art (with or without a therapist as well.)