Saturday, October 10, 2015

Netanyahu – a leader with no vision, and without a message

As so many times in the past, Israel is again burning. Terror, clashes and violence, mostly instigated and carried out by Palestinians, sweep over the country, not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but in Israel proper.

And now we have instances of terror carried out by Jews as well, and we can not claim moral immunity.

Yes, true, terror by Jews is condemned by the absolute majority of Israelis, while much of Palestinian teror is received by praise by both Palestinian leadership and society. Still, far from what is necessary has been done to reign in those extremist elements in Israeli society, particularly in the more fanatical of the settlements and among certain national-religious groups.

While Netanyahu occasionally has been pressured to freeze settlements and other concessions, it has never been his initiative. Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership has also never responded favorably to those concessions – for equally bad reasons: a lack of will and capability.

In his recent talk to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu spoke well and truthfully. Yet, without any vision. He did not bring any message. Declaring his desire to renew negotiations without preconditions is not enough. His counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, does not trust him, and is equally reluctant, since he cannot provide what is required – accepting a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel without any further claims on the Jewish state.

Yet, stalemate inevitably leads to the eruption of violence (even movement does not guarantee peaceful relations – the terror instigated by the Palestinians during the Oslo negotiations should not be forgotten or denied).

However, Mahmoud Abbas, while perhaps tired and often threatening to resign, does move his separate agenda, to gain international recognition. While his moves are mainly on the international arena, they ignite the fire on the ground, not the least by incitement (such as “The Jews have no right to defile Al-Aqsa with their filthy feet”).

Netanyahu, however, has to be dragged, sometimes into the right acts. His present reluctance to expand construction of settlements, and in fact enforcing a construction freeze, is helpful.

Even more helpful would be a comprehensive initiative. Considering the locked situation, the first issue on the agenda would be unilateral withdrawal from civilian occupation.

First, Israel would need to define a temporary border. In fact, the notorious security fence does this quite well; 9-13% of the West Bank remains west of the fence. That is, 87-90% of the West Bank remains outside the security fence, to establish a demilitarized Palestinian state with temporary, but near-complete borders.

© Shaul Arieli,

Secondly, separate between civilian and military occupation:
a. Withdrawal from civilian occupation beyond the self-defined temporary border, and beyond the big settlement blocs; i.e., from close to 90% of the West Bank. Relocate the many small and scattered settlements - in which a minority of settlers reside, to inside the security fence, i.e., the self-defined, temporary but distinct border, preferably by offering compensation for voluntary relocation.

b. Retain military occupation for security needs, but step by step, increase the territory handed over to Palestinian civilian authority – and eventually, as well, security control. Practical and creative solutions to ensure security cooperation can be provided – some are already implemented. Each limited territorial step, as part of a long range plan, should be accompanied by steps of mutuality, agreed upon by both sides. If no agreement, no military withdrawal, until security control can be transferred. 
c. That is, unilateral civilian disengagement and withdrawal from occupied territories beyond thesecurity fence, but negotiated step-by-step military withdrawal, with increased Palestinian security responsibility in those areas added to its sovereign territory.
Thirdly, in the long run, in order to ensure viability, low-level confederative frameworks of cooperation, can be conducive, encompassing Gaza-Israel-West Bank/Palestinian Authority-Jordan.

The critical issue at this time is withdrawal from civilian occupation beyond the big settlement blocs (located along the cease-fire lines), while incremental withdrawal from military occupation can only take place when agreements are reached.


By Elizabeth Clark-Stern

Psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote in The Red Book of the distinction between “The Spirit of the Times” and “The Spirit of the Depths.” We see this vividly demonstrated when we put Ari Shavit’s acclaimed new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel alongside Erel Shalit’s classic work, The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel. The former takes us through the history of the heroic creation of Israel, including the darkest “shadow” behaviors of the Jewish state in the 1948 massacre of the Arabs of Lydda.
In the latter work, Erel Shalit tells us why.

This is no simplistic psychological analysis. The brilliance of this Israeli Jungian analyst is that he offers no easy solutions, plumbing the paradox of the necessary heroic identity of the Jewish state, and yet, around every corner is the shadow of every hero: the beggar, the frightened one, the part of all of us that is dependent on forces outside of our control.

It is also very important to note that Erel Shalit’s book is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the inner workings of the soul. On one level Israel is the backdrop for the author to explore how shadow, myth, and projection work in all of us, regardless of our life circumstance, nationality, environment, or history. It even includes a comprehensive glossary of Jungian terms that has some of the best definitions I have ever encountered, and hence a find for readers new to Jung.

And, of course, for people who are fascinated by the scope and depth of the story of Israel, this is a simply great read. It stands alone, but read as a companion to Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, Erel Shalit’s Hero and His Shadow gives us The Spirit of the Depths in all its dimension. We may not be able to resolve the Arab/Israeli conflict, but we can learn many things from this brave, complex Israeli author, that we can apply to healing the inner and outer wars in our own lives.

The Jung Neumann Conference - A Contribution

The Jung-Neumann Conference
A Celebration of a Creative Relationship

Kibbutz Shefayim, April 24-26, 2015, Trailer FaceBook

When we started planning the Jung Neumann Conference, which took place now half a year ago, we could not know how well it would turn out.

The challenge began in 2012, when as representative of the Erich Neumann Heirs, I signed the agreement to publish the correspondence between Jung and Neumann, together with the Stiftung der Werke von C.G. Jung, and the Philemon Foundation.

After signing, Jung's grandson, Mr. Ulrich Hoerni suggested we launch the book, and hold a conference in Israel.

To fulfill this in the spirit of Jung's and Neumann's writings on the psyche in the world, on evil, ethics, and the shadow, we decided that if there were to be any profit from the conference, we would donate this.

As it turned out, we did make a small profit, and decided to contribute to two organizations:

The Way to Recovery, which brings Palestinian children and adults to treatment in Israeli hospitals. You can read about the organization and its founder, Yuval Roth, here, and on their website.

Amalia, of Road to Recovery

The other organization, Hosen (Resilience), is located in the small town of Sderot, which has suffered thousands of missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The organization works with post-trauma, from which many, perhaps most, in the town suffer. It is impressive how this town manages to keep life going, care for the appearance and infra-structure, as well as the psyche of its citizens.

Hilla Barzilai, director of Hosen/Resilience

While Erich Neumann did not work directly with children, after the Holocaust he was acutely aware of the need to treat children. He thus supervised child analysts in the treatment of children coming to Israel from the devastation in Europe.

While sadly there is a need for these organizations, we are pleased to have devoted a small sum of money, and much of our soul and heart, to the important causes that they serve.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Cycle of Life - David van Nuys interviews Erel Shalit

Painting by Benjamin Schiff 
You can now listen to David van Nuys from Shrink Rap Radio interviewing Erel Shalit about

You find the audio interview on the Shrink Rap Radio website.

Painting by Hagit Shahal

In The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, Shalit places Jung’s conceptualization of the transformations of consciousness over the life span alongside life cycle theories, notably those of Eric Erikson and Daniel Levinson. He also places his ideas about the arc of life in relation to Greek myth (the three Morai who spin one’s fate – but not one’s destiny - at birth) as well as biblical, Talmudic and Hasidic tradition, the Hindu Ashramas or four stages of life, pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, Dante’s Divine Comedy and fairy tales.

Shalit’s amplifications of Jung’s work on understanding the life cycle are substantial. He outlines the developmental progression through the child, the puer/puella, the adult, and the senex. His talent for integration and creative thinking is evident in bringing to bear on Jung’s thinking various psychoanalytic theorists - notably Freud, Klein, and Winnicott – as well as myth, fairy tale, comparative religion, etymology and dream material.

Where this book shines is not in a dry recitation of the psychology of transition through life’s stages but in the sense of wonder and mystery Shalit is able to articulate in relation to the problems of life all along the journey.

Erel Shalit’s books reflect his skill and experience as a clinician and thinker in the Jungian tradition who is making a major contribution to the body of psychological thinking in general and Jungian theory in particular.

From Steve Zemmelman, Containing the light, in Spring Journal, vol 92 (2015).

Painting by Benjamin Shiff

Erel Shalit's guidance through the journey of life

Writing a review of the writings of Erel Shalit is daunting. How can anyone quickly distill the expansive and loving knowledge of this brilliant thinker and writer? The pleasure of reading Shalit's books is the absorbing of his manner of drawing us into his thoughts and speculations of Jungian individuation. He is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Israel but lectures throughout the world and the increasing acknowledgement of his many books indicates his level of importance in the community of psychology.

In The Cycle of Life Shalit encourages the reader to reflect on all aspects of their time here on the earth, absorbing each of the stages of development of growing, but not dismissing the fountain of growth at the end of life. He early on gently shakes his finger at our contemporary thoughts of wanting to hide age: 'When cosmetics and plastic surgery mold a stiff and unyielding mask of youth, or rather of fictitious youthful appearance, old age cannot wear its true face of wisdom. By flattening our the valleys of our wrinkles, we erase the imprints of our character. Fixation in a narcissistic condition of an outworn mask silences the inner voice of meaning in our life.'

'Life' by Benjamin Schiff
He divides his book into the stages of life and, of course, emphasizes the Jungian exploration of the second half of life. One of the selfless manners in which Shalit writes is his sharing of quotations by other writers - including Shakespeare's excerpt from 'As You Like It' - the 'All the world's a stage/ And all the men and women merely players etc'. He honors the words of colleagues alive and passed on, making sure that we the reader receive an expansive exposure to the interpretations of others.

But where Shalit blooms is in his compassion and this comes forward in the most needed spaces. He closes his book with the following: 'As much as we in old age reflect back upon what has been satisfactory in our lives, we need, as well, to bear our failures and foregone opportunities. Even if we have managed to walk our own individual path, having been fortunate to follow the road less traveled and found our way home to a sense of meaning in our personal quest, we need to carry the unanswered questions and unknown possibilities of the road not taken.' This is the soothing message he offers at the end of his insistence that we examine our lives as a whole. He is brilliant, he is warm, and we are the better for reading him.
—Grady Harp

Sunday, August 16, 2015


6 Sessions Starting January 21, 2016.
Click Here to Register for the Series
$127: 6 Seminars; 1.5 Hours each
$287: 18.0 CEU Package (3.0 CE per seminar)

The Asheville Jung Center is very pleased to announce a Fall webinar series on The Shadow and the Problem of Evil with Murray Stein, Sarah Stein, Erel Shalit, Mary Tomlinson, Henry Abramovitch and Brigitte Egger. Dr. Stein has already taken part in 3 recent webinar series including Jung and Alchemy, The Psychology of Fairy tales, and Jung and the World Religions. This course will consist of 6 webinars discussing several Archetypal Shadow topics including cultural evil, the symbolism of evil, ethics, and projection and the scapegoat. Participants may register for all 6 lectures for one price of $127. Participants joining anytime after the course begins can still register and catch up by watching the recorded version of prior lectures.

The problem of evil infects the individual psyche and the social order. Indeed, it is a fire sweeping across world culture and political arrangements. The reality of evil is indisputable, but there are questions about it: What is it? Where do we locate it? What can we do about it?
“The sight of evil kindles evil in the soul…. The victim is not the only sufferer; everybody in the vicinity of the crime, including the murderer, suffers with him. Something of the abysmal darkness of the world has broken in on us, poisoning the very air we breathe and befouling the water with the stale, nauseating taste of blood.”
—Jung, 1945. After the catastophe. Coll. Works. 10. p. 199
On the collective level, nations take action against perceived evil by building elaborate defense and prison systems. Enormous efforts are made to prevent evil from encroaching on a country’s territory and civil society. When evil breaks out, countries go to war, criminals are jailed, and defensive systems are aroused to their full magnitude. Similarly, when an individual is threatened by evil, psychological defenses are mobilized and actions taken. On an intrapsychic level, this is observed in dreams and fantasies. Evil is perceived as “out there” and must be defended against with laws and by force. But what of the evil within, the evil we do without conscious awareness, the evil we do to ourselves? And, can the perpetrator, inner or outer, be rehabilitated? Is there a therapy for evil?

In this seminar, we will discuss the problem of evil as both relative (a matter of perspective and judgment) and as absolute (beyond dispute, archetypal). What is the difference? This issue comes up in individuals and in society as they make decisions on peace or war.

Within individuals who are in analysis, what does the appearance of evil look like? Analysis aims to develop shadow awareness and integration. We will touch on the question of the meaning of “integration of the shadow” and ask if all parts of the shadow can be integrated. Are there limits? Must some impulses and fantasies be actively, consciously and forcefully suppressed for the sake of integrity and greater wholeness?

In society, we face criminality and the question of the criminal’s rehabilitation. We will raise the question of rehabilitation and its limits. Are all, or some, or no criminals capable of rehabilitation? What is the psychopathic mind and how does it respond to attempts at therapy and rehabilitation? If rehabilitation is a limited possibility, what does this imply for social policy and the criminal justice system? Empirical research and studies will add to the body of the seminar.

The question of ethics is paramount in this discussion. If as individuating personalities we are responsible to the self, who or what is the self responsible to? What is the basis for a moral order in the life of the individual and society? Extending this to world affairs, what about evil in the realm of world politics, warfare, and so-called defense systems? When the archetype of evil takes hold and comes into full power, is a return to sanity possible?

Seminar #1 (January 21, 2016) – “General considerations and introduction” – Jung and Neumann; what is “evil?”; the problem of projection and the scapegoat; the value of evil and the shadow. (Murray Stein).

Seminar #2 (February 18) – “The criminal mind and criminality in society” – States of possession by evil – rebellion, envy, classism, racism, fundamentalism. (with Sarah Stein).

Seminar # 3 (March 17) – “Cultural evil – the quest for dominance” – War, empire-building, tribalisms. (with Erel Shalit).

Seminar #4 (April 14) – “The symbolism of evil” – In religions, myths, fairytales, film, literature, dreams. (with Mary Tomlinson).

Seminar #5 (May 19) – “The responsible self – A dynamic perspective” – Taking evil into account, personal and collective; the problem of ethics. (Murray Stein with Henry Abramovitch).

Seminar #6 (June 9) – “The shadow of humanity written on the planet – Learning from ecological patterns” – Ecological issues on planet earth. (with Briggitte Egger).


Erich Neumann, Depth Psychology and the New Ethic
Murray Stein (ed.), Jung on Evil

Marie-Louise von Franz, The Shadow and Evil in Fairytales


Murray Stein, Ph.D., is a supervising training analyst and former president of The International School of Analytical Psychology in Zurich, Switzerland (ISAP Zurich). He is the author of Jung’s Treatment of Christianity as well as many other books and articles in the field of Jungian Psychoanalysis. Dr. Stein was also editor of Jung’s Challenge to Contemporary Religion. From 2001 to 2004 he was president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. He has lectured internationally and presently makes his home in Switzerland.

Sarah Stein, Dr. Sarah L. Stein is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice and forensic science at Western New England University. She is also a cold case and missing person consultant for various law enforcement agencies and families. Dr. Stein received her PhD in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi (2012), her Master’s in forensic science with a concentration in advanced investigation and a certificate in computer forensics from the University of New Haven (2007), and her undergraduate degree from American University (2004); a self-designed major entitled The Victimology of Pedophilia. Dr. Stein has co-authored three texts, two on cold case investigations and one on research methods; she has also published articles and presented at academic conferences to include the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the American Society of Criminology, and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Erel Shalit, Ph.D., 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 several 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.

Mary Tomlinson, M.A., JD, graduated in May 2011 from the International School of Analytical Studies (ISAP) in Zurich, Switzerland, and has established a practice in Toronto where she lives and practices. Mary has degrees in Economics and Law (both a J.D. and a Masters) but she found that her passion led her to Jungian Analysis. Her love of books lead her to write a thesis entitled, What is it about a Mystery? on the detective story and why we are so enthralled with the genre.

Henry Abramovitch, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst, clinical psychologist, anthropologist and medical educator. He is the founding President of Israel Institute of Jungian Psychotlogy, Past President of the Israel Anthropological Association, as well as Professor in Dept of Medical Education, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, where he has been Director of Behavioral Science in New York/American Program for over 30 years.

Briggitte Egger, Ph.D., is a Jungian training analyst at ISAPZURICH with a private practice as well as an ecologist with a doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. She concentrates her research on the psychic and symbolic dimensions of collective issues and works at introducing this dimension into practical environment protection – especially concerning energy and water, further landscape, animals and market globalization – thus building up the field of psych ecology.

- See more at:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Deal with Iran is a Bad Deal – Approve it!

Harsh words have been used to criticize the agreement with Iran, according to which inspections are dubious, seemingly much in the hands of the untrustworthy Iranian regime itself. Iran makes it clear that it intends to remain the leading state sponsor of terror in the Middle East (and possibly elsewhere), and has recently increased its advanced military acquisitions from Russia and China.

At a time when sanctions had begun to have a serious impact on the Iranian regime, they were lifted by negotiating this agreement. Whether the United States and the other signatures of the agreement have been naïve, achieving “peace in our time” along the lines of Chamberlain’s agreement with Nazi Germany, or have defused the cloud of nuclear threat, remains to see.

Iranian leader tweets Obama with gun to his head - July 18, 2015 

Those in favor of a liberal and peaceful reaching out toward agreement with a non-liberal, deceitful, cruel and genocidal regime, are naturally in favor of ratifying this severely flawed agreement, and try to convince as that the deal isn't that bad.

And those forces who look at Iran as a severe threat to the world, whether because they are realistic, or because they are inclined to blame the other, want to reject the deal, and to convince us that it is all bad.

While there are both assets and shortcomings to the deal, some of the flaws, such as inspections, seem all too problematic, as does the beyond provocative genocidal intentions that in self-confident arrogance continue to be expressed by Iranian leaders, no less, and perhaps with greater force, after the deal has been agreed upon.

But at this stage to reject the deal is as naïve as its signing. The Iranian regime does not want a deal. They do not want to sign commitments, which, some of them, they will have to break, either deceitfully or, if necessary, openly defy. All they want is the lifting of sanctions, which they have already achieved, with the possibility to continue their nuclear threat, establishing them as the leading force in this area of the world. The United Nations has voted to suspend and lift sanctions, European companies have re-ignited business with Iran, and Russia and China are now openly selling advanced weapons technology and airplanes.

The Iranian parliament has postponed its vote till after the vote in the Congress. An American rejection will put the blame on the US, cause an internal American rift, while simultaneously unite moderates and extremists in the Iranian regime. Nothing will prevent them to increase their significant support of terror and military forces such as Hizballah, and freely develop military nuclear power. No restraints, no limitations, and no sanctions.

This bad deal has trapped the United States, the more moderate Sunni Arab regimes, and Israel. A rejection of the deal will only trap them even further, while Iran is relieved of sanctions, relieved of restrictions, and relieved of blame.

Thus, at this stage, the deal should be approved. However, I suggest the establishment of a Monitoring Committee, headed by the United States, with relatively moderate Sunni States, France and Germany, and Israel. While this committee would not in itself have the means to implement either sanctions or inspections, it can have a strong monitoring capability, a moral impact, and a strong public diplomacy standing. Parallell to the overt monitoring of the implementation (or non-implementation) of details in the agreement, such a monitoring committee would have access to the most advanced intelligence. While a considerably better deal would have been preferable, the deal does provide for a stronger diplomatic stance vis-à-vis Iran. Exposure of non-compliance will therefore have considerably greater impact than without a deal.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Where was the left when the settlers hijacked Zionism?

In an article in Haaretz Eva illouz asks, “Where was the left when the settlers hijacked Zionism?”

My reply would be as follows:

1. when in the beginning of the 1990s, Peres and Rabin moved toward peace, the left was tired after decades of struggle, and left the work to the reliable leadership of the two. It meant the leaders were left alone on the road to peace, and not actively backed by the public that so much desired exactly that. The streets were therefore left to the right, becoming increasingly anti-Rabin and anti-Peres, till the extent of the horrendous demonstration behind a symbolic coffin – in which Netanyahu participated. This was the reason for that impressive and in the end so tragic gathering, in which Rabin was assassinated.

Demonstration against Rabin - Netanyahu seen from behind

2. During those years of intensive efforts at peace making, buses were blown up by Palestinian terrorists all over the country. The left was paralyzed, and only made ridiculous statements that “when peace comes, buses won’t blow up anymore.” That is, the left was stuck in a cynical fantasy of the “Great peace.” The left should have condemned every act of terror, just like we all condemn the acts of terror by Jewish terrorists. Thus, the left, lost its connection with much of mainstream Israel.

3. Since 1977, Israel has mainly been ruled by the right. All center-left governments since then have been short-lived, but done amazing attempts at reaching out – Rabin, Peres, Barak and Olmert, and Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. The Palestinian response has not been encouraging in any of these cases, even when offered a Palestinian state on all occupied territory (or exchange of equal territory). Responses have been suicide attacks, blown-up buses, endless rockets, war of terror.

4. During all these years, particularly right-wing governments have encouraged increased settlement activity (though it should be kept in mind that Netanyahu – davka – accepted Obama’s request for a ten month settlement freeze to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. They didn’t arrive, but asked for prolongation. With increased spending on settlements, money to the ultra-Orthodox, and to defense, the center- and left wing young and middle class Israeli has had to work even harder, pay more taxes, pay more for housing (except in the settlements) – and has not had the strength to continue his or her political activism, while paradoxically paying for those who destroy Israeli democracy.

5. Under the present circumstances, I suggest as one of several steps to be taken, but something that is very concrete and should be implemented immediately (though in steps): Unilateral withdrawal from civilian occupation beyond the security fence. That does not require agreement or reliance on anyone besides Israel itself. It means relocating (the term used by – Michael Oren!) the 20% of the settlers that live in 80% of the settlements (since these are smaller, and scattered all over, and most disruptive to Palestinian statehood).

6. In which country do you find men and women, till their mid-forties, physicians and others, being called up for combat duty, seeing the sons of their friends killed, treating the wounded, and then demonstrating for peace – the peace that almost anyone who has had such experiences yearn for, like the majority of the Israeli population, who is willing to give up the hold on occupied territory to a Palestinian state, alongside Israel?

7. So where was the left? Hard-working, paying taxes, trying to make a living and affordable housing and carry the burden of a country that we love, for which we bleed in so many ways, but refuse to give up the Hope.

From Steve Zemmelman's review in Spring, Summer 2015:

The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel puts Israel’s recent history on the analyst’s couch with a particular focus on the intertwining development of individual and collective identity in the Jewish state. … For me, it was a particular challenge and pleasure to read this book since, as an American Jew who is on a path of discovery about what it means in my life to be Jewish, there was a great deal here that I found new and challenging. …

The Hero and His Shadow offers an intelligent, sensitive, humanized perspective on the trajectory of events that led to the current tragic situation in the Middle East so specifically detailed in Ari Shavit’s recent book, My Promised Land. Unlike Shavit’s excellent history … Shalit’s analysis reflects a skillful blending of the inner psychological and archetypal dimensions of the problem without collapsing it into a homogeneous whole.

In one section where he discusses the yearning for a strong leader by Israelis and Palestinians who are gripped by terror and the tendency to see the world in terms of polarized opposites, Shalit comments, “peace…poses a threat to those who identify with the quest for grandiose wholeness and totality, in which there is no room for the other." I could not help thinking at the same time about the current situation in American politics where there is so much polarization and such limited capacity on the part of many to see self and other as part of the civic whole.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Containing A Jungian Light: The Books of Erel Shalit - by Steve Zemmelman

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Steve Zemmelman's comprehensive review of five of my books, in the latest issue of Spring Journal (which is a particularly interesting issue; for content, see here).

I am deeply grateful to Steve for writing so beautifully - this comprehensive review is a poetic paper in itself.

Dr. Steve Zemmelman

Containing A Jungian Light: The Books of Erel Shalit
by Steve Zemmelman

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born.
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn.
Dance me to the end of love.

I was listening to these lyrics from a song by Leonard Cohen during the time I was reading Erel Shalit’s books for this review, and it struck me how well these poetic lines capture the essential tension between fragmentation and wholeness as they reference past, present and future. They orient the listener to limitation and in so doing suggest a depth of meaning that can only come from facing the inevitability of mortality and the potential for redemption through love. The tune in which the lyrics are embedded is a lamentation with a distinctly Jewish sensibility. It leaves me moved, tearful, despairing and hopeful, all at once. It is soulful, satisfying, and true. It seemed so fitting a soundtrack for a day in which Shalit’s work was so much pulsing through me.


It has been my great pleasure over the past year to have studied the body of Erel Shalit’s written work. While at first it felt like an overwhelming task to creatively review a body of work by a highly regarded and prolific colleague, I approached the task I was invited to take on as a unique opportunity for learning and creative reflection.

The effort was more than amply rewarded. In his books one encounters a master interpreter of Jung’s many contributions to depth psychology illuminating a wide range of topics in ways that both present Jung’s foundational psychological thinking and amplify his mythopoetic approach to the soul. Jung’s work navigates between the empirical and the imaginal, engaging with each perspective as both an impetus for and a limitation to the other. Shalit’s work stands solidly in this territory, taking Jung’s original, creative thinking and building upon it, simultaneously enlarging it and nailing it down. While the density of his writing style can be challenging at times, requiring the reader to slow down and ponder the meaning of the words, more often Shalit’s words sing with a poetic, intuitive perspective that grips the reader and leaves him in a state of deep appreciation for the opportunity to contemplate an issue or problem from a new, more enriching, vista.

His books should find their way into many courses on Jungian psychology and analytic training programs as they offer both clear explications of basic concepts without falling into the trap of overly concretistic definitions, as well as thoughtful and scholarly interpretations and amplifications that illustrate and deepen the ideas being discussed. In addition, seasoned analysts can also learn much from these books, about themselves and their patients, and can make good use of these books in teaching this material to others.

• • • • •

In addition to his integration of Jewish knowledge into analytical psychology, Shalit writes as an Israeli deeply troubled by the polarizations in the Middle East, turning the lens of analytical psychology toward the forces and tensions that have shaped Israel from the time of its socialist pioneers in the early 20th century to the present. He makes extensive use of the concepts of projection and shadow in their many forms to call for more humane and just relations between Jews and Palestinians that echoes the call for integration of the shadow by his fellow countryman and first generation Jungian analyst, Erich Neumann, which one finds in his classic work, “Depth Psychology and a New Ethic.” One sees also in Shalit’s work a deep wrestling from the point of view of Joseph Henderson’s ideas about the cultural complex as links are drawn between the intrapsychic and social/cultural dimensions of life.

• • • • •

To read the full review, please do purchase the current issue, or enter a subscription to Spring Journal

If you are interested, you find my books on Amazon. You can also find several of them at the Fisher King Press online bookstore, where you can pay by credit card, PayPal, and your account. (That’s right, you can now pay for your Fisher King Press book orders from the website with your account.)

Forthcoming this fall: 
Erich Neumann: Jacob and Esau - On the collective symbolism of the brother motif
Edited and with an introduction by Erel Shalit
Translated by Mark Kyburz