Dear Friends of The C.G. Jung Society of Vermont,
In this month’s issue of Jung in Vermont, we feature Sue Mehrtens’ essay, Loving the Mystery: Jung on our ‘De-psychized’ Modern Reality. In this essay Dr. Mehrtens draws the important distinction between the predominant scientific attitude which views the mysteries of life as “nothing but” and the religious attitude (meaning the awareness of something greater and ‘other’ than ego-consciousness) which accepts the reality of psyche and its mystery as “just so.” If you’re interested in reading more on this essential subject, Jung’s Tavistock Lectures is a great place to start. The Tavistock Lectures present Jung at his best – he is engaging and direct, and his approach to psyche is accessible even to those unfamiliar with his psychology. The Tavistock Lectures are included in CW 18, The Symbolic Life: Miscellanous Writings, and also are bound in their own volume entitled Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice.
There are two free events this month that we hope you’ll take advantage of, first, this coming Thursday, February 10th from 8:00-9:30 p.m., Michael Conforti is offering a complimentary teleseminar on Dream Patterning: Encounters with Psyche as Threshold Experience. For more information and to register, contact Andrew Bartlett at The Assisi Institute, Assisi@together.net or (802)254-6220. On February 13th at 2:00 p.m., Luanne Sberna will be presenting on Jung and Yoga in the Community Room at The Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT. This C.G. Jung Society of Vermont event includes both didactic and participatory experiential activities. It is free and open to the public. For more information contact Ms. Sberna at (802)863-9775 ext. 2 or JunginVermont2@Burlingtontelecom.net .
We also would like to make you aware of the Jungian-related curriculum being offered by The Jungian Center for Spiritual Sciences this winter/spring. Based in Waterbury, Vermont, this educational non-profit organization founded and directed by Sue Mehrtens, a regular contributor to the e-journal, is offering an exciting mix of nominally priced courses beginning mid-February. Please check it out by clicking the tab News From The Jungian Center.
The society’s film series continues to attract newcomers to the society as well as draw back regular attendees. This past January the film, Thomas Berry: The Great Story, generated heart-felt discussion around the film’s core message of personal responsibility as we face overwhelming world-wide ecological problems. Fr. Berry recalls us to our human condition when he says at various points during his film narration, “We are a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects and until we accept this essential truth, nothing will change.” His understanding of a “communion of subjects” as distinct from a “collection of objects” – and the theme of Dr. Mehrtens’ February essay - has its corollary in Martin Buber’s conceptualization of the I-Thou relationship as distinct from the I-It relationship. For Jung, the subjective experience of the Divine is known through the encounter with the numinous. For Fr. Berry as for Carl Jung, the divine spark is contained in matter; when we treat the material world – nature - and all that it contains as divinely inspired and as a manifestation of the Divine, our relationship to the world must change. Ever more people seem to understand this, at least in part, as suggested by the growing interest in carbon footprint reduction, organic farming, and renewables. Many years ago in a world much different from today’s industrialized built up environment ruled by conglomerates, Chief Seattle expressed his concern for reverent stewardship of the natural world. He said:
"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children that we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth... This we know, the earth does belong to man: man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected..."
Chief Seattle’s message that each succeeding generation is only the custodian caring for the inheritance of those who come after is well worth remembering and implementing in our individual lives.
The interconnectedness of life is fundamental to Jung’s psychology. In the 1950s when the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States were locked in an uneasy balance of power known as the Cold War, Jung received a despairing letter from an American wanting advice regarding “finding some spot where I could use my knowledge in helping the world.” As part of his response, Jung quoted a Hindu Holy man’s advice to an acolyte, “Help yourself and you help the world, for you are the world” (Letters, v. 2, 626, 627). Jung’s advice is central to the Jungian approach to psyche: deal with your darkness within, take responsibility for that which you project – displace – onto another, suffer it and own it. All of the problems in life from the most minor to the greatest have their roots in the projection of one’s own darkness (or collective darkness) onto the other(s). If you’re interested in learning more about working with the personal shadow, a great little book is Robert Johnson’s Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche (Harper). Another is Erich Neumann’s Depth Psychology and a New Ethic (Shambhala). To read what Jung has to say about the shadow, refer to CW 9ii, “The Shadow” in The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious.
Before closing, there is a new and free e-publication entitled Personality Type in Depth available at: www.typeindepth.com . Vermont’s Mark Hunziker is co-editor – all the best, Mark!
With best regards,
Stephanie Buck, ed.
Jung in Vermont
JunginVermont@Burlingtontelecom.net or (860)4921.