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Depth Psych
Pioneered by William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Gustav Jung, Depth Psychology is the study of how we dialogue with the Unconscious via symbols, dreams, myth, art, nature. By paying attention to the messages that show up from beyond our conscious egos, we can be guided to greater understanding, transformation, and integration with the world around us, inner and outer. Join the conversation in community at
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Jung, Steiner, and Evolution of Consciousness - Patricia Damery

Jung, Steiner, and Evolution of Consciousness - Patricia Damery | Depth Psych |

The common ground of carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner offers keys to an evolution of consciousness through their common ancestor, Goethe...


Although contemporaries, Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner never met. And although they did not have much good to say about the other, they shared a common philosophical ancestor, Wolfgang von Goethe. (Rumor has it that Jung may have shared more than a philosophical lineage as his grandfather may have been an illegitimate offspring of Goethe’s!) Both men studied Goethe’s book length poem Faust as teenagers, Jung at the suggestion of his mother, and Steiner encouraged by a teacher who was editing Faust at the time.

Goethe’s work presents an alternative approach to the natural world and the psyche, from the mechanistic way that has developed since Descartes. It reflects an approach that perceives the whole as a living substance, whether that be the human psyche or the flower growing along the roadside. Goethe developed techniques to communicate with the living substance of a plant... Click title for more

Via Zeteticus, Eva Rider
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Planet Beehive—An eco-depth-psychological look at bees, philosophy, and culture

Planet Beehive—An eco-depth-psychological look at bees, philosophy, and culture | Depth Psych |
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The Necessity of an Ecopsychology of/as "Nature Religion"

The Necessity of an Ecopsychology of/as "Nature Religion" | Depth Psych |

As a psychologist of religion, I should like to make some observations about the relationship between the human psyche and the other-than-human natural world, in particular as one tradition in psychology sees that relationship. Let me begin by quoting words I take to be both exemplary for the tradition in question and pertinent to our discussion of "nature religion":


Yet there is so much that fills me: plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man. The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things. In fact it seems to me as if that alienation which so long separated me from the world has become transferred into my own inner world, and has revealed to me an unexpected unfamiliarity with myself.


This striking passage appears on the last page of C.G. Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, written at the end of his long life and career in psychology. It was initially pointed out to me for its evocative oddness by James Hillman, Jung's revisionist successor, in connection with a theme Hillman has pursued since at least 1982, when he published an article on it entitled "Anima Mundi : The Return of the Soul to the World."


By this Hillman means the return of psychological subjectivity to the outer, non-human world, including the...

Eva Rider's curator insight, March 30, 12:31 AM

Jung, Hillman and "the kinship with all things"

Paulette Turcotte's curator insight, May 16, 1:05 AM


EXCERPT     But having understood what post-Jungians say are the sources and strictures of the alienation from nature that psychology has wrought, we need also to reflect on the strange shift Jung felt at the very end of his life and described at the close of his autobiography to inspire a reader like James Hillman.


We recall that, having felt a "kinship with all things" ("plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man"), Jung also encounters "an unexpected unfamiliarity" with himself, an uncertainty about himself. Here is confessed a startling reversal that we can see, with Hillman, as the genesis of a sweeping eco psychology, offering a measure of hope that the alienation from nature and the severe obstacles to a modern nature religion imposed by a psychological culture might be mitigated if not overturned.


Beyond modest if valuable ecopsychological efforts to psychoanalyze attitudes toward environmentalism or to use diagnostic categories to assess the mental causes of our historical divorce from nature, psychology's sense of the boundaries of the self will need to expand, so that the individual psyche, losing its familiar isolation, might become an "eco-psyche," participating in the subjectivity of the more-than-human as well as human realms. Such a reconceptualizing of the self would, at its most extreme, require that psychology revision its own nature and purpose, admittedly a political unlikelihood. Still, we who are trying to reflect upon nature religion's contemporary reality would be well-advised to take account of these post-Jungian issues and options.


Such a psychological education would learn, for instance, that through sensing a kind of widespread cultural grieving for the biosphere--perhaps that soulful recognition of the things of nature for which Peter Bishop called--post-Jungians also allow the possibility that psyche is manifesting itself once more in the outer world. This, at least, is an implication of Hillman's 1982 article on the return of the soul to the world, where he says that. . . that cataclysm, that pathologized image of the world destroyed, is awakening again a recognition of the soul in the world. The anima mundi stirs our hearts to respond: we are at last, in extremis , concerned about the world; love for it arising, material things again lovable. For where there is pathology there is psyche, and where psyche, eros. The things of the world again become precious, desirable, even pitiable in their millennial suffering from Western humanity's hubristic insult to material things.


The ramifications of Hillman's heartfelt words here are worth probing in relation to what I am proposing about the need for an ecopsychology in relation to "nature religion."


He emphasizes, for one thing, that "the more we confine interiority to within the individual, the more we lose the sense of soul as a psychic reality . . . within all things." Notice the critique of individualism that comes with this application of the anima mundi perspective. A return of soul to the world in a revolutionary ecopsychology will entail a more communitarian focus. As Hillman puts it,


In place of the familiar notion of psychic reality based on a system of private experiencing subjects and dead public objects, I want to advance a view prevalent in many cultures (called primitive and animistic by Western cultural anthropologists), which also returned for a short while in ours at its glory through Florence and Marsilio Ficino. I am referring to the world soul [anima mundi ] of Platonism which means nothing less than the world ensouled.


But it is important to understand that the Renaissance sense of an anima mundi , which he significantly equates here with tribal animism, is not only a "view" being "advanced" by Hillman intellectually. It is also, he insists, a presence experienced through the pain of our alienation from the world , including our mistreatment of non-human nature. "Psychology," he says, "always advances its consciousness by means of pathologized revelations, through the Underworld of anxiety. Our ecological fears announce that things are where the soul now claims psychological attention." This assertion connects to the point mentioned above about the appropriateness of cultural grieving, what the late Michael Perlman wrote about as an "ecology of mourning."




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Mother World: splitting, integration & evolution in the mother archetype

Mother World: splitting, integration & evolution in the mother archetype | Depth Psych |

Carl Jung speaks of the human soul’s “longing to attain rebirth through a return to the womb, and to become immortal like the sun” (CW5, para. 312). In biblical terms rebirth is associated with entrance into Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the holy city, as image of the holy mother.


Jung says, “the Old Testament treats the cities of Jerusalem, Babylon, etc. just as if they were women” (para 303). While Jerusalem is an image of the holy mother, Babylon is the unholy mother. In Jung’s words: “Babylon is the symbol of the Terrible Mother” (Jung, para 315).


From a Kleinian perspective, the infant splits the mother image into two primitive forms: a ‘bad and persecuting’ form and a ‘loving and gratifying’ form. These two representations are internalized and become part of the psychic world.... (Click title for more)

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Depth Psychology Poetry and Art, Depth Insights Issue 4

Depth Psychology Poetry and Art, Depth Insights Issue 4 | Depth Psych |

Special thanks to Jane Johnston for the cover art, a ritual Mandala entitled “Surrender.” Jane writes:


Jung observed mandalas, or sacred circles, depicted in art worldwide are representations of the self, and that drawing these circles assist in the containment and integration of life events.


Engaging in a deep inquiry requires a large container, and a year long meditation of painting a sacred mandala while holding a particular question is challenging, surprising, healing, truthful, connective and transformational. This form of self inquiry disrupts binaries, deepens self-awareness, and knowledge of the relationships between all things is gained allowing for a more realized wholeness.


The mandala is structured in such as way as to allow the painter access into progressively deeper levels of awareness, consciously moving through personal obstacles/defences. Both the inner and the outer world is engaged... (click title for more

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Image, Language, and the Lived Body in the Depth Psychology of the Self

Image, Language, and the Lived Body in the Depth Psychology of the Self | Depth Psych |

In 1994 in the Ardeche region of France, three explorers pulled rocks away from a tiny opening at the base of a cliff and opened the door to another world. Inside the deepest recesses of what turned out to be a 1300-foot long cave were remarkable images of animals painted there by humans living 30,000 years ago (Herzog, 2010).


The images are remarkable in their style and beauty, virtually perfectly preserved in the near airtight conditions of the cave. Lions, bears, bison, reindeer, mammoth, rhinoceroses and other beings line the walls in almost three-dimensional form, many captured in dynamic action--hooves raised, mouths, open, legs bent midstride--as if they were living beings.


Today, it is easy to take language for granted. The majority of the civilized world both reads and writes, allowing communication in very specific topic and form.  But what is it to “have language”--be linguistic creatures? What would life... (Click title to continue reading)

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