Friday, January 19, 2018

Turbulent Times, Creative Minds - A review by Ann Casement

Turbulent Times, Creative Minds
Edited: Erel Shalit and Murray Stein

This reviewer of Turbulent Times, Creative Minds was introduced to the work of Erich Neumann decades ago by his close friend, Gerhard Adler, who thought highly of him. 
In complete contrast, Michael Fordham was critical of Neumann’s thinking on the child and told this reviewer he doubted that Neumann had ever encountered an actual child – thereby enacting an actual experience of the opposites. In addition, the profound Jung thinker, Wolfgang Giegerich, has also written critically on Neumann. 
In order to experience Neumann’s thinking at first-hand, this reviewer participated in the 2015 conference held at Kibbutz Shefayim to mark the publication of the correspondence between Jung and Neumann edited by Martin Liebscher. The current skillfully edited book arising from that conference is an homage to the exceptional personal and professional relationship between Jung and Neumann, including in its pages masterly chapters by Lammers, Mendes-Flohr, Shalit and Stein. 
The book ranges over such vital topics as the New Ethic linked to the eternal problem of evil (Stein’s in-depth thinking is outstanding here), the ego-self axis, sibling rivalry, the German-Jewish experience, Eranos, religion, clinical issues and art. The Jung and Neumann families’ memories and contributions add noteworthy personal touches to this highly recommended volume. 

Ann Casement
Licensed Psychoanalyst/Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute


This volume of essays by well-known Jungian analysts and scholars provides the most comprehensive comparison to date between the works of C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann. Reflections are based on their extensive correspondence recently published, their differing cultural backgrounds, and the turbulent times surrounding their personal and professional relationship. Among the many specific subjects discussed are Jung and Neumann on art and religion, their views on the problem of evil, and clinical aspects of Neumann’s work. Also included are personal memories of both Jung and Neumann family members.

I. The Correspondence (1933–1960)
II. Cultural Backgrounds
III. Troubled Times
IV. The Problem of Evil
V. Neumann and Eranos (1948–1960)
VI. On the Arts
VII. Clinical Contributions
VIII. On Religion
IX. On Synchronicity
X. “Memories from My (Grand)Father’s House”

Available on Amazon, Chiron and other book sellers.

Jacob and Esau 
On the Collective Symbolism of the Brother Motif (2nd printing)
by Erich Neumann

cover image by Meir Gur Arieh 

title page image by Jacob Steinhardt

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Story of Requiem on YouTube

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return

The razor-sharp edge of religious beliefs and national conflict, of shadowy projections and existential anxiety, that characterize Israel and its neighbors, gives rise to a particular blend of archetypal fate and personal destiny, of doubt and conviction, despair and commitment, of collective identity and personal choice.
However, I do believe that the essence of my wonderings reach beyond the shores of the eastern Mediterranean or Jewish tradition. I believe the tension between a sense of exile and return, belongingness and estrangement, are universal aspects, certainly in our post-modern world. While Israeli reality provides the external context, the story serves, as well, as a metaphor for the exile and return of the soul, which necessarily is a journey through shadowy valleys.

Requiem returns us to an eternal theme, a dialogue with Soul, and we know quite well what happens when one dialogues with Soul—we change, consciousness is enlarged, the impossible becomes possible and we no longer are compelled to blindly follow in the deathly path of our forefathers.

Requiem is a fictitious account of a scenario played out in the mind of many Israelis, pertaining to existential reflections and apocalyptic fears, but then, as well, the hope and commitment that arise from the abyss of trepidation. While set in Israel sometime in the present, it is a story that reaches into the timelessness of history, weaving discussions with Heine and Kafka into a tale of universal implications.

This YouTube presentation tells the story of Requiem, with brief quotes from the novella itself.
Related image

A review by Grady Harp

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: Grant them eternal rest, O Lord

The title of this meditative book, REQUIEM: A Tale of Exile and Return', seems inappropriate when the reader begins Erel Shalit's story: if these are the thought patterns that are seething through the mind of our narrator Professor Eliezer Shimeoni as he prepares a lecture on the fate of Israel and the fate of the Jews, why then open with a 'Christian' mass for the dead? But then we are reminded that this is yet another work by the author of Enemy, Cripple, & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero's Path, and his life's work is not only a Jungian Pyschoanalyst but he is also a man consumed with the great literature and the important writers of the world.

He begins this story simply enough as Professor Shimeoni reflects on the history of the Jews post WW II, the formation of the independent home state of Israel and then the gradual failure of that land to maintain. 'That very moment he understood why the passionate longing for home had anchored in the Jewish soul, and why the sense of the soul's exile wandered like a shadow behind every Jew.' He quotes the words of Chaim Potok 'To be a Jew in this century is to understand fully the possibility of the end of mankind, while at the same time believing with certain faith that we will survive.' Shimeoni has faith that the Jews will survive, given the history of the suffering of the Pogrom. 'His belief was that the Jews thrived at the edge of pathology - their individual pathology, but also their collective pathology as a people.'

Given his theme for investigation Shimeoni examines an imagined end of Israel and then pastes together his responses to that concept with post-modern thinking. 'He recalled the words of Ben-Gurion, that in Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles. "Was Israel not the miraculous realization and the triumph of the spirit of life, forever hovering over the primordial abyss?" he said in a loud and clear voice, adjusting the microphone. As the lights were turned on, he emerged from the shadow of catatonia, and began his lecture'. This is from the last paragraph of this novel.

But what Erel Shalit has accomplished in this very brief but intoxicating book is to provide a path for each of us to follow, wisely using the plight of the Jews during the last century as a matrix from which to judge our own individual exile and return. He is an accomplished thinker and he is also a very brilliant writer.
A review by Marcela London
Erel Shalit’s Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return touched me deeply, deep into the waters of my soul. From that ocean, I will choose to mention a few of the many emerging waves.
The book traces historical events, in which the longing for home can be felt: a real home, a collective home, and the personal and internal home that the author aims at, by means of the narrator of the book, Eliezer Shimeoni.
This is his private odyssey, but in distinction from Ulysses, he chooses not to relate to the siren’s song as merely a danger, but rather as a call to make the journey towards the soul’s home.
Erel Shalit’s narrative has a unique, fascinating and powerful style, which touches you strongly. Particularly, he has a way of leading the reader to grasp complicated historical processes with unusual ease.
Interwoven in a narrative of fiction and seeming non-fiction, we meet familiar figures from philosophy and literature, such as Kafka, who asked his friend Max Brod to burn his books after his death, a wish which, to the great fortune of humankind, the latter did not fulfill. In Requiem the author brings us both to Heine and the burning of books, and back to the fate of Hananiah ben Terdion in the second century.
The story of the second-hand bookshop reminded me of Borges’s famous library; Shimeoni also found refuge in the many old books: “The old bookshop granted an escape into a world of history books and timeworn atlases in which he could sail across the sea of time and continents, where fear and excitement and heroism were free and asked no price. It was a world of books that he could browse but never buy, an odyssey that could only be traveled, but never owned.”
I was carried away by the ruminations of the protagonist who wonders if he was “a mere actor in the play? What he believed to be his own, free and individual will, his personal determination, his choice and his decisions, his own peculiar thoughts, were they nothing but the manifestation of his allocated role, the text he had been given, none of his own creation?” And, “Without soul, there is no water and no liquid, no stream, no steam, and perhaps also no dream, he told himself, almost speaking out loudly. Soul does not have material substance,” says Shimeoni in the book, in his Zen-like reflections. And he is reminded of the film Smoke, based on a script by Paul Auster. The film tells the story of Sir Walter Raleigh who asked Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century, “How do you weigh smoke?” Clever as she was, she supposedly answered him, “How can you weigh smoke? It’s like weighing air or someone’s soul,” we are told. But the narrator contemplates and eventually provides us with the surprising answer.
In Requiem we are presented with two distinct styles of writing, so that we are almost led to believe that two different authors wrote the book. We find not only the narrator of a story, but also the spiritual and lyrical face of the author.
I highly recommend this fascinating and important book, which presents the reader with the simultaneously intellectual and emotional landscapes of Erel Shalit.
                Marcela London, poet, author of The Beginning Was Longing (Hebrew, 2013)

A review by Junko Chodes

REQUIEM - The Tone of a Masterpiece

From the first pages of this book, the tone of a masterpiece emerges powerfully.

This book makes us realize that the "Israel problem" cannot be understood in a journalistic frame of mind. Politics, war, land, culture, and contemporary experience are expressions of the deep core of human life, the core of the human soul.

This is an important book for anyone who thinks about "cultural identity" and the love of one's own country and culture.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Jerusalem, the Capital

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the center of the Jewish people, whether the American President says so or not, and whether the Palestinians accept it or reject it.
Hopefully the Arab part of Jerusalem, what in Arabic is Al-Quds will, one day, also be the capital of a Palestinian State. Not instead of Jewish Jerusalem, but alongside.
The Palestinians and other Arab countries have tried to deny the intimate and historic link between the Jewish people and Jerusalem - rather successfully so for instance at UNESCO.

It would be conducive, if the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, just like Israel needs to recognize the legitimate right of the Palestinians to establish a separate Arabic State alongside Israel – something which the present extreme right-wing Netanyahu government does not do. 
Israel needs to recognize that today there is a national Palestinian identity, which requires the boundaries of statehood to crystallize in its collective colors, differently from a collective identity which relies on the denial of the other side's rights. Likewise, the Palestinians need to recognize Jewish, Hebrew and Israeli history - which includes not claiming that the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance, is part of the Palestinian heritage, rather than Hebrew.

A one-state solution is not a viable option, only a prescription for never-ending violence.
There are many possible roads toward a two-state solutions even in times characterized by animosity and frustration, though it may not be carried out by the three limping leaders – Trump, corrupt Netanyahu, Abbas who hangs on to power though he was supposed to stand for re-election nearly a decade ago but hangs on to power.

Regarding the boundaries and borders of Jerusalem, one of the most practical suggestions has been presented by the Geneva Initiative:

The following is excerpted from the beginning of my chapter on Jerusalem, published in Tom Singer’s (ed.) excellent volume Psyche and the City: A Soul’s Guide to the Modern Metropolis.

Human Ground, Archetypal Spirit

Unlike Rome, not all roads lead to Jerusalem, and those that do may all too easily lead the visitor astray in a labyrinth of divinity and madness. In the course of history, when Rome became the center of power, sanctity and glory, Jerusalem sank into spiritual ruin and peripheral oblivion.[1] Thus, even those modern roads that bring you smoothly to the city may force the pilgrim to pass “through thorny hedges…”[2] of his or her mind.
One may conveniently approach Jerusalem from the west, ascending the modern highway, which climbs eastward through the Judean Hills–like a Western mind moving toward the Orient.[3] By approaching Jerusalem driving on the comfortable asphalt that smoothly covers the ground and softens the bumps, one may arrive only to find a noisy and neglected city, tired by too much spirit and worn out by too much poverty. Slowly winding upward through the hills, parallel to the highway, runs the dusty old donkey path, burdened by archetypal history. Arriving this way, one may find the sparks of illumination that shine from within the dry stones, as well as the strife and conflict that cut through the rocks of Jerusalem.
Alternatively, one may proceed toward Jerusalem on the Route of the Patriarchs, from the desert in the east. This is the path on which the ancient Hebrews arrived, as they crossed the river into the land of Canaan, thus gaining their name and reputation as Hebrews, which means “those that came from across the river.”
One may capture Jerusalem by drawing the sword against evil spells, as did King David from the Jebusites three millennia ago, or enter the city humbly on a donkey, like Jesus did and any future Messiah is supposed to do as well, or like the Caliph Omar majestically riding on a white camel. In whatever way one arrives, the visitor must be ready to overcome the obstacles of Earthly Jerusalem, which far from always mirrors her Heavenly Sister’s image of completeness and redemption.
            “Crouched among its hills,”[4] Jerusalem is immersed with mythological, religious, and symbolic significance. Yet, scarce in natural resources, the surrounding land is cultivated rather than fertile by nature, and the so-called Jerusalem stone, the pale limestone that characterizes many of the city houses, nearly cracks and shatters by carrying the burden of Heavenly Jerusalem. In its often shabby garb, terrestrial Jerusalem seems to want to shake off its Celestial Glory, releasing itself from the task of being “the gateway to heaven.”[5] At other times, when the light from above is reflected in her harsh stones, Jerusalem seems to embrace the presence of the Shekhinah, the earthly dwelling of the divine.[6] Especially at dawn and at dusk, the reflection of the light may bring that which is below and that which is above, earth and heaven, reality and imagination into play with each other–marble-like clouds weighing heavily above, and stones that radiate light.
Jerusalem wavers between the spirit that takes her to be God’s joyous garden, the fountain of the awakening love and beauty of the Shulamite, the bride of Wise King Solomon, builder of the Temple,[7] and her Godforsaken body, poor and neglected, a shameful and condemned whore, as she is described in Ezekiel.[8]

Significant Dates in the History of Jerusalem
Jerusalem dates back to the fourth millennium B.C.E. It became a permanently settled Canaanite city in the nineteenth Century B.C.E, mentioned in the Egyptian Execration Texts as Rushlamem.[9] The Bible first mentions Jerusalem in Genesis 14:18-20, when Melchizedek, “king of Shalem,” greeted and blessed Abram upon his arrival. According to the Biblical narrative, it was a small, fortified Jebusite city for about two centuries until captured and made capital by King David in the tenth century B.C.E., after he had ruled for seven years in Hebron. He brought the Ark of the Covenant, holding the stone tablets with the engraved Ten Commandments, to Jerusalem. The Ark was later placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple built by his son, King Solomon. The Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, who with his one hand built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem with his other, and deported much of the population in 586 B.C.E. However, a few decades later King Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return and to rebuild the Temple. The Second Temple was completed in 516 B.C.E., and later enlarged by Herod in the first century B.C.E.
The Hellenistic period began with Alexander the Great’s conquest of Jerusalem in 332 B.C.E. Following the Maccabean revolt the Jews recaptured Jerusalem and restored the Temple in 164 B.C.E. However, a century later General Pompey captured the city. The Romans would reign until the beginning of the Byzantine period, 324 C.E.
Jesus, born ca. 6/5 B.C.E., towards the end of the great and cruel King Herod’s reign, was crucified at the hill of Golgotha, then outside the ancient walls, probably in 30 C.E. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, inside the present walls surrounding the old city, was built by Emperor Constantine early in the fourth century, likely at the site of crucifixion. 
The Second Temple was destroyed, presumably on the same day as the destruction of the first Temple, on the ninth of the Hebrew month Av, late summer 70 C.E., which for the observant Jew is a day of fasting and mourning the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet, Talmudic legend raises the idea of transformation, suggesting that the day of destruction signifies the birth of the Messiah. After defeating the revolt of Bar Kokhba in 135 C.E., the Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed the destroyed city Aelia Capitolina. He prohibited the Jews from entering the city, and on the ruins of the former temple, he built one to the worship of Jupiter.
The Byzantine period lasted from the beginning of the fourth to the middle of the seventh century, followed by the Muslim period. The al-Aqsa–i.e., “the furthest”–Mosque was built at the Temple Mount during the Umayyad period, early eighth century.
The Crusaders ruled from 1099, barring non-Christians from the city, which then was captured by Saladin in 1187. Following the Mameluk period, Jerusalem and the Holy Land were conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the early sixteenth century. Sultan Suleiman I, alternatively called the Magnificent and the Lawgiver, rebuilt the city walls, which had been razed three centuries earlier.
Jerusalem remained desolate for centuries. The Zurich-born Dominican Friar Felix Fabri, who visited the Holy Land late in the fifteenth century, wrote of Jerusalem’s destroyed buildings, abandoned by its inhabitants. At the same time, Obadiah of Bertinoro, the intellectual leader of the Jewish community in Jerusalem, described the city as poor and largely desolate. While at the end of the Second Temple period the population of Jerusalem reached 100,000, it had been reduced to less than nine thousand in 1800. Only in the mid-1800s did the city wake up from its slumber, beginning to recover and grow again.

 The Cities:
Bangalore • Berlin • Cairo • Cape Town • Jerusalem • London • Los Angeles • Mexico City • Montreal • Moscow • New Orleans • New York • Paris • San Francisco • Sao Paulo • Shanghai • Sydney • Zurich
The Contributors:
Paul Ashton • Gustavo Barcellos • John Beebe • Nancy Furlotti • Jacqueline Gerson • Christopher Hauke • Thomas Kelly • Thomas Kirsch • Antonio Karim Lanfranchi • Charlotte Mathes • Elena Pourtova • Kusum Dhar Prabhu • Joerg Rasche • Craig San Roque • Erel Shalit • Heyong Shen • Thomas Singer • Murray Stein • Craig Stephenson • Viviane Thibaudier • Beverley Zabriskie • Luigi Zoja

Psyche and the City is available on Amazon and other sellers.

[1] Cf. Martin Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations (New York: Vintage, 2008), for the history of the two cities and the civilizations they represent.
[2]  Zev Vilnay, Legends of Jerusalem (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973), p. 304.
[3] It is by facing the orient, the east where the sun rises, that we find our way, i.e., orientate ourselves.
[4]  Yehuda Amichai, Poems of Jerusalem and Love Poems (New York: Sheep Meadow, 1992), p. 49.
[5]  “And Jacob awoke from his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How awesome is this place! this is no other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17). Rabbinic folklore (midrash) says that while the foot of Jacob’s ladder was in Bet El, the top, which reached the gates of heaven, was in Jerusalem.
[6] “And they shall call Jerusalem the Dwelling Place,” “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord” (respective translations of Jeremiah 3:17).
[7]  Isaiah 51:3; Song of Songs, e.g. 7:1. The eleventh century Rabbi Ibn Ezra interprets the Shulamite here to represent Jerusalem.
[8] Ezekiel 16.
[9] Menashe Har-El, Golden Jerusalem (Jerusalem: Gefen, 2004), p. 22.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Imitation and the Archetypal Adult

In The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, I mention five pathologies that I relate to the idea of the Archetypal Adult. In this brief presentation I mention an additional one, which Jung speaks about – imitation. In the Red Book he writes, “The new God laughs at imitation and discipleship.”

In Two Essays in Analytical Psychology he writes,
"The human being has one faculty which, though it is of the greatest utility from the collective point of view, is immeasurably detrimental from the standpoint of individuality; the faculty of imitation. Collective psychology can never dispense with imitation, for without it the organization of the masses, that of the state and of society, is quite simply impossible. Society is organized, indeed, less by law than by the propensity to imitation, implying equally suggestibility, suggestion, and moral contagion."
Imitation is a shadow-side of the self. The Self means authenticity, and in its wholeness it includes its opposite – imitation.

This beautiful ten-minute video, which you can watch here, was created by Karol Domanski and Adam Kosciuk.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Sun and the Sword, The Moon and the Mirror

The Sun and the Sword,
The Moon and the Mirror

by Erel Shalit

Besides the more commonly accounted for masculine, solar aspect of the hero’s journey, we may refer to a feminine, lunar attribute as well. They represent different attitudes vis-à-vis the unconscious.

The sun-hero has a dual relationship to the Great Mother, as exemplified by Heracles; his name means Glory of Hera, yet the goddess drives him to madness. He sets out on the mission to break free from the bonds of the Great Mother, to face her magnitude, ready to draw his sword in combat with her however awesome she seems to be, and to enhance his ego-consciousness. The sun-hero, while not always able to fulfill the entire mission of his journey, works towards replacing id and the unconscious with ego. He must abandon the comfort and the security of the kingdom of childhood, about which Jung writes:
For him who looks backwards the whole world, even the starry sky, becomes the mother who bends over him and enfolds him on all sides ... As such a condition must be terminated, and as it is at the same time an object of regressive longing, it must be sacrificed in order that discriminated entities - i.e., conscious contents - may come into being.(1)
On his way to consciousness the hero encounters monstrous and malicious obstacles that, as Jung says, rise in his path and hamper his ascent, wearing “the shadowy features of the Terrible Mother, who saps his strength with the poison of secret doubt and retrospective longing.”(2) He risks being devoured by the Earth Mother, destroyed by the gods, to burn in the flames of passion set afire by the nymphs, or die in battle with his competing Martian warriors. His world is patriarchal, goal-directed and lawful, thus he may lose direction and plunge into unconsciousness, teased and tantalized by the feminine seductress intruding from afar, as became the tragic fate of Samson.

It is the sun-hero’s undertaking to break away, to free himself from the archetypal world.
Cover image by @ Susan Bostrom-Wong
Simultaneously, as part of his mission, he must gather the strength required to bring the very same archetypal energy into the ego and human consciousness. Thus, the hero has one foot in divinity, one in the world of mortals. It is the hero’s task to dismember the archetypal energies and transpose them as increasingly human complexes into the personal world and the realm of the ego. This is what Prometheus does when he brings fire to man. His name means forethinker; the Promethean fire is the capacity to plan the use of that natural transformative energy, fire, for the benefit of mankind, to create consciousness and acculturation, heating and cooking, creating new materials and fresh ideas.(3) But also when the complex has become autonomous, split-off from consciousness and detracting energy from the ego, the hero is called for. The man who compulsively clung to a job far below his capabilities because of his fear of losing it was constantly threatened by dismissal until he gathered his strength to fight the complex that nearly destroyed him.

The sun-hero may be the obstinate two-year-old who repeatedly says no and no to being dressed, “I dress.” Or the five-year-old who pulls the hero’s phallic sword with which he fights the beasts within—as they are projected upon the little kindergarten-brutes of the real world without. The sun-hero is unmistakably masculine, a He, whether a boy or a girl.

The solar hero brings something new, something formerly unknown into the consciousness of the individual or that of society. By means of the adventures of the sun-hero, man has, for instance, accomplished scientific achievements and expanded geographical boundaries. The solar aspect of the hero pertains to patriarchal consciousness. With his sword, the hero cuts and divides, which is structurally essential for the establishment and expansion of consciousness.

But there is a lunar aspect or phase of the hero’s journey as well, which may likewise unfold when the hero abandons the conventions of the royal throne and the safe rule of ego, when he stands up against and turns away from collective consciousness. This is the case, for instance, with Buddha, whose way is enlightened by reflection rather than by the splendor of the sword. It pertains to conceiving, rather than “deliberate doing,” and, says Neumann, “time must ripen, and with it, like the seeds sown in the earth, knowledge matures.”(4)

This is the moon-hero. He, or in fact She, because it pertains rather to the feminine, whether in man or woman, ventures into the dangerous paths, the forests and the rivers, the hills and the valleys, the labyrinths and the netherworlds, the pandemonium, the chaos and the torment outside the boundaries of collective consciousness, beyond norms and conventions. She is maybe not the skillful goal-directed archer Apollo, but rather his twin sister Artemis, the hunter goddess roaming in the wilderness and the forest, armed with silver bow and arrows. This may be the sense of drifting around the outskirts of town, sneaking into backyards, to hike around in foreign places in the geography of the world or in the psychography of the soul, learning “how to observe nature, the way it grows and changes.”(5) It is dangerous; as happens to Artemis, by mistake, you may kill your loved one, or if you come too close you may be transformed into a stag, because it is an oscillating journey between death and rebirth, waxing and waning, appearance and disappearance, love and disaster, reflection and deflection, healing and wounding. The ground easily quakes, and on winding roads and behind thorny bushes the forces of love and madness, pain and desire, despair and anticipation struggle with savage ferocity. The lunar hero pertains to relationship and unification, but breakup and falling apart, as well.

The hero’s lunar quality refers to the mirror and reflection, rather than the sword and division. As we shall see later, Perseus is equipped with both.

In its lunar aspect, the hero does not attack the unconscious. It entails a conscious turning towards the unconscious, quietly and humbly awaiting what in the course of time arises and unfolds in the hero’s reflective mirror. As Campbell says:
The mirror, reflecting the goddess and drawing her forth from the august repose of her divine non-manifestation, is symbolic of the world, the field of the reflected image. Therein divinity is pleased to regard its own glory, and this pleasure is itself inducement to the act of manifestation or “creation.”(6)
The following is the dream of a sixty-year-old man, slowly finding his way home to himself after having “been away” for a long time, during an extraverted career:
I feel an urge to return home. I have been away for a long time. As I get home, I see that a man sits on a chair in the attic, watching the dark sky through a telescope—there is a big opening in the roof. He calls me to look, and I try to look carefully through the telescope, but I see nothing. I turn and turn the telescope, yet, I can’t see anything. He shouts and yells at me and I feel very embarrassed, and he tells me angrily to go and sit and wait next to a little girl who sits on a bench. She looks like she is in a dream state, just looking up at the sky. First I look at her, and then I lose the focus, and like her I just look at the dark sky, and then, suddenly, a very bright star shines far far away but very very clearly, and then I see the moon, so close, almost as if I could touch it.
Naturally, the lunar aspect of the hero is closely related to matriarchal consciousness, as elaborated in depth by Erich Neumann.(7) Queen Jocasta, Shining Moon, as representative of the feminine side of consciousness, has been discussed elsewhere.(8) However, Neumann is mainly concerned with matriarchal or moon-consciousness as something preceding patriarchal consciousness, pertaining to “enchantment and magic, ... inspiration and prophecy” rather than “its recurrence in the psychology of individuation, which is a reappearance at a higher level, as is always the case where, in the course of normal development, we again encounter something already experienced.”(9) I believe the lunar and the solar elements constitute complementary aspects of the hero and his/her journey, even if the one may precede or dominate the other.

In fact, as regards the lunar aspect of the hero’s journey, he naturally ventures into darkness only as the sun sets, rather than at dawn. Yet, the hero needs to be equipped with some of the day’s light to withstand the night’s depressive darkness, and with summer’s warmth for the cold loneliness of winter not to overwhelm him.

He travels at night-time, west to east, in the reflective light of the moon rather than in the unambiguous light of day. “The alchemical work starts with the descent into darkness (nigredo), i.e., the unconscious” says Jung.(10) Only thereafter “one arrives at the east and the newborn sun,” says Edinger.(11) Ayala, a forty-year-old woman, dreams:
It is midnight, midsummer night. I am barefoot, walking from the sea eastward, on a thorny field. My feet hurt, I am bleeding. Then, suddenly, a path opens up, crossing the field in the centre, dividing it in two, lit up by the light of the moon. As I walk along, still feeling the pain in my feet, a man suddenly appears from the dark and blocks my way. He is religious, completely shrouded in his Tallith [the prayer shawl], even his head is covered. He barely notices me, and he does not move to let me pass. I have to stop and wait, and listen to him reciting a prayer. I look at him as he prays, and very quietly he looks at me, in a warm and kind way. I feel his quiet prayer fills me up within, and he then blows the shofar [the ram’s horn], and I feel a wave of excitement.
While the dream was experienced during an afternoon nap, it takes place during summer’s brief night. The dreamer is guided along her path by the moon. The peripeteia occurs when her road is blocked, but she need not actively struggle with her adversary. Rather, this woman, who had experienced a deep narcissistic wound due to lack of adequate mirroring in early childhood, allows herself in the dream to be mirrored by the religious man’s chanting prayer. Jung says:
Christ, or the self, is a “mirror”: on the one hand it reflects the subjective consciousness of the disciple, making it visible to him, and on the other hand it “knows” Christ, that is to say it does not merely reflect the empirical man, it also shows him as a (transcendental) whole.(12)
The dream-ego, the I in our dreams, is our recurrent nightly hero, our messenger who ventures into dreamland, and returns home with a letter from the Self.(13) In the above dream, Ayala encounters her adversary who emerges from the shadow, not as an enemy to be fought, but as a mirroring or reflecting other. This is the hero’s lunar rather than solar attribute. It may even be that the dream ego will not really bring anything new into consciousness, but her soul becomes inspired and excited, i.e., setting the breath of life in motion. From the lunar perspective, the event, such as in this dream, needs less to be interpreted, but rather be libidinized by the moisture of the Self.

(1) C.G. Jung, CW 5, par. 646.
(2)“The Dual Mother,” CW 5, par. 611.
(3) Shalit, The Hero and His Shadow, p. 151.
(4) Erich Neumann, The Fear of the Feminine, pp. 92, 94.
(5) Verena Kast, The Mermaid in the Pond, p. 55.
(6) The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p. 213.
(7) ‘The Moon and Matriarchal Consciousness,’ in The Fear of the Feminine, pp. 64-118.
(8) Shalit, The Complex, p. 55.
(9) The Fear of the Feminine, pp. 74, 92.
(10) CW 9ii., par. 231.
(11) Edward Edinger, The Aion Lectures, p. 116.
(12) CW 11, par. 427.
(13) The Talmudic dictum says: “A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read.”

This article is an excerpt from Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path.

For a review of the book by Ann Walker in Psychological Perspectives, please see here.

Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is a training and supervising analyst, and past president of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology (ISAP). He is the author of the novella, Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return, and several other publications, including The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel and The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Jung's Understanding of Schizophrenia -- Is it Still Relevant in the "Era of the Brain"?

Yehuda Abramovitch

M.D. Psychiatrist at Beer-Yaakov Mental Health Center and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Senior Analyst, Israel Institute of Jungian Psychology.

Jung understood Schizophrenia as an "Abaissement du Niveau Mental", a similar phenomenon to the one encountered in dreams, and caused by a peculiar "Faiblesse de la Volonté". He contested that complexes in Schizophrenia, in contrast with neurotic disorders, are disconnected and can either never reintegrate to the psychic totality or they can join together in remission "like a mirror broke into splinters". Accordingly, a person who does not fight for the supremacy of his ego-consciousness and for the subjugation of unconscious forces, a person who lets himself be swayed by the intrusion of alien contents arising from the unconscious (or even is fascinated by regression) exposes himself to the danger of Schizophrenia.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Kristallnacht and the Eternal Jew

79 years ago, on the night between November 9-10, 1938, pogroms took place during the so called Kristallnacht, in which more than 90 Jews were killed, 30,000 incarcerated in concentration camps, 1,000 synagogues were burned, thousands of Jewish business, schools, homes and buildings damaged and destroyed.

The Eternal Jew exhibition first opened in the Library of the German Museum in Munich on November 8, 1937, and ended on January 31, 1938, thus preceding the Kristalnight by exactly a year.. Billed as a degenerate-art exhibition, it was the largest prewar anti-Semitic exhibit thus far produced by the Nazi's. The exhibit featured photographs pointing out the typically "Jewish" features of political figures, such as Leon Trotsky, and international film star Charlie Chaplin. [who, btw, was not Jeiwsh]

The displays emphasized supposed attempts by Jews to bolshevize Germany, It did this by revealing an 'eastern' Jew - wearing a kaftan, and holding gold coins in one hand and a whip in the other. Under his arm is a map of the world, with the imprint of the hammer and sickle. The exhibition attracted 412,300 visitors, over 5,000 per day. 

Read more here, also about the film of that name produced a year later.

The following are excerpts from the novella Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:
Eliezer Shimeoni recalled the words of Chaim Potok, who so poignantly gave voice to that collective concern, “To be a Jew in this century is to understand fully the possibility of the end of mankind, while at the same time believing with certain faith that we will survive.” Living in Israel was certainly living at life’s edge, at the edge of survival.

Bitter irony turned into sour cynicism, as Professor Shimeoni reflected on the word “certain.” He was convinced that an eloquent writer such as Potok had purposefully used the ambiguous word certain. “Is there a word more uncertain than certain?” he asked himself rhetorically. “Did Potok mean that we could be sure, could be certain in our faith that we will survive, or did he mean that we may have some, a bit, perhaps a certain bit of faith that we will survive?” 
Eliezer Shimeoni did indeed have a certain, a very certain faith that the Jews would survive.
"Peace in our time"
Had not the ordinary German, covering the gamut from willing collaborator to frightened compliant, been infected by years of indoctrination and selective information? “When I myself look into the mirror,” he said to himself, “it is somewhat embarrassing to admit that, perhaps, I may have wished Chamberlain success in his mission of appeasement. I have always had a soft spot for Neville Chamberlain. He pronounced himself to be ‘a man of peace to the depths of my soul,’ and I believed him, and I like to see myself as a man of peace to the depth of my soul.” ...

And Professor Shimeoni, for one, would have made his way to Heston Airport and applauded him upon his return, because he is a man of hope and peace.
Thus, he told himself, “I cannot blame the passively collaborating German, and can only admire and feel a deep love for those who dared to see and those that dared to act.” Particularly he thought of Wickard von Bredow, as the example of exceptional heroism: As County Officer (Landrat), he received the order, November 9, 1938, to burn down the synagogue in the East Prussian town of Shirwindt, just like all the synagogues in Germany that were to be destroyed during the next few hours. Von Bredow put on his German Army uniform, said goodbye to his wife, and, ...
Eli Shimeoni wondered, “Would I have dared to trespass the prohibitions, would I have dared to buy from a Jewish store? I hope so, but the honesty that fears evoke, makes me wonder. If I would have been a 1938 German, may I not have looked the other way, avoiding the shame and the guilt gazing back at me in the store owner’s eyes of shattered glass.”

And he knew very well that pathology is always stronger and more powerful than sanity, just like hatred settles into scorched ground, while love forever remains aloft, like letters written in the clouds. Does not Father Death eventually swallow every one of Life’s Children? ...

 The following is an excerpt from “My European Animus,” a brief chapter in response to Joerg Rashe’s touching chapter “My Jewish Anima,” in the book he and Tom Singer edited, The Many Souls of Europe:

“Little wonder, then, that to me Jörg represents the best of Europe – its culture and enlightenment, as well as depth, reflection and integrity. But we live lives and worlds apart. The times we live in, the geography in which we dwell, the people and the tradition, the culture and the ancestry into which we are born is our fate, says Neumann. They do shape the contours of our ‘psychography.’
            My parents never met in Germany. At thirteen, my mother was thrown out of the illusion of enlightened Mosaic assimilation. The light was turned off, crashing into the black hole of shattered glass at Kristallnacht, walking through the night in the streets of her childhood’s Hamburg. She never really arrived at morning’s light, perhaps because she didn’t meet Dr. Brod. For the rest of her life, she would wait for him, always prepared, dressed up for his arrival.
            My father, a broken link in a long chain of rabbis, crossed Nazi-Germany on his way to work on a farm. He was saved by the unknown, righteous officer at the Gestapo HQ, who saved him by that German word, which otherwise evokes such horrendous connotations – herauss, get out! And so I learned that just like evil dwells in all of us, the spark of goodness may be found in evil’s cellar.
            My father was a man who set out on his road but never arrived at his destination. Thrown into disarray by the losses, my grandmother turned into the ashes of Auschwitz, his grandmother dying in Theresienstadt’s shadows of deception, he tried to create a life for his offspring. On his way to the kibbutz in the Land of Israel, his wings had lost their wind, and his legs, stifled into clay, remained stuck in the charred earth of Europe.”