Friday, April 1, 2016

The Cycle of Life - David van Nuys interviews Erel Shalit - transcription

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

The Cycle of Life

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

A transcription of the interview has now also been uploaded, here.


Painting by Benjamin Shiff


A Magnificent Book for All Interested in the Journey of Life

by Lori Goldrich, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst and Clinical Psychologist


It is with great pleasure that I review Erel Shalit’s marvelous book. To begin, I feel so moved by the synchronous events that led to his finding of the book’s cover, or “face.” Benjamin Shiff’s painting “Life” and the meaning he gives for this marriage of book and painting are quite exquisite. “The candle’s soft light of life is poised against the painful inevitability of burning out. Yet, as long as they burn, there are shades and colors; there are the distinct faces of transient existence, and there are those of obscurity, hidden in distant nature; there is a lyrical melancholy, as well as a tense harmony…Only an unlit candle will never burn out. A fully lived life extracts the awareness of its finality.” These words are like pearls for the journey he takes us on in The Cycle of Life.


I also appreciate the ground he creates by discussing fate and destiny as a “primary tenet,” or underpinning of his book. When we let the tides of our fate and our destiny flow together into a union of opposites, meaning can be found. What begins as our fate can so often become a part of our destiny, which he so aptly discusses in his book. I have found this to be an important foundational principle, both personally and in my analytic work with patients. “On our journey through life, an incessant tension prevails between predetermined fate and free will, between archetypal patterns as opposed to individual distinctiveness.” So well stated!

Erel Shalit truly succeeds in describing the different stages of life in a way that keeps the reader interested and engaged. The weaving of psychological and theoretical perspectives from Freud to Klein to Winnicott to Neumann to Jung, and others, along with the wisdom from various disciplines including philosophy, literature, religion, and myth, is presented in such a way that both clinician and layperson can deepen in experience and knowledge. I especially appreciate his discussion of how the focus on archetypal images and experience can release the energy that lives in the deeper stratas of the psyche to assist in the transformation of psyche, body and spirit.

I also want to share a personal delight while reading Erel’s book. I always enjoy exploring the precise meaning of Hebrew words, and I so enjoyed his inclusion of this for select words and names. It “makes the connection between word and image comparatively close.” It is also reflective of the depth of attention he brings to his writing.


Erel Shalit has written a truly magnificent piece of work. It is a book for all those interested in the Journey. At the beginning of his book, he offers us the image of the “river” and writes from Plato, “While the river preserves its identity, it is incessantly moving and changing, simultaneously being and becoming.” As I read his book, I can truly experience the being and becoming on the journey of life.

'Life' by Benjamin Schiff

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Erich Neumann: Jacob and Esau - Now available!

Jacob returns to the Holy Land after 20 years in Haran. He sends angel-emissaries to Esau in hope of a reconciliation, but his messengers report that his brother is ready for war, with 400 armed men. Jacob prepares for war, prays, and sends Esau a large gift to appease him.

That night, the family of Jacob crosses the Jabbok River, while he remains behind and encounters the angel that embodies the spirit of Esau, with whom he wrestles until daybreak. Jacob suffers but vanquishes the supernal creature, who bestows on him the name Israel, “he who prevails over the divine.”

The Biblical account seems then to condense time, possibly indicating the significance of the proximity between the struggle with the angel and the meeting with Esau. Upon lifting his eyes, it says, Jacob saw in front of him Esau and his men, and bowed to his brother. Esau embraced him, and the two brothers kissed and wept in each other’s arms. Having found grace in his brother’s eyes, Jacob insisted on giving Esau his gifts, for “I have seen your face, as though I had seen the face of God.” 
Based on this verse, Neumann elaborates on God and Esau, shadow and Self. In fact, this is the peak of his psychological study of the hostile brothers within the human soul, and forms the basis of his new ethic.

Silhouette by Meir Gur-Arieh. 
Copyright Meira Gur-Arieh Kein
In 1934, Erich Neumann, considered by many to have been Carl Gustav Jung's foremost disciple, sent Jung a handwritten note: "I will pursue your suggestion of elaborating on the 'Symbolic Contributions' to the Jacob-Esau problem . . . The great difficulty is the rather depressing impossibility of a publication." Now, eighty years later, in Jacob and Esau: On the Collective Symbolism of the Brother Motif, his important work is finally published.

In this newly discovered manuscript, Neumann sowed the seeds of his later works. It provides a window into his original thinking and creative writing regarding the biblical subject of Jacob and Esau and the application of the brother motif to analytical psychology.

Neumann elaborates on the central role of the principle of opposites in the human soul, contrasting Jacob's introversion with Esau's extraversion, the sacred and the profane, the inner and the outer aspects of the God-image, the shadow and its projection, and how the old ethic - expressed, for example, in the expulsion of the scapegoat - perpetuates evil.


Mark Kyburz, co-translator of C. G. Jung's The Red Book, has eloquently rendered Neumann's text into English. Erel Shalit's editing and introduction provide an entrée into Neumann's work on this subject, which will be of interest to a wide range of readers, from lay persons to professionals interested in Jungian psychology and Jewish and religious studies.

Erich Neumann was born in Berlin in 1905. He emigrated to Israel in 1934 and lived in Tel Aviv until his death in 1960. For many years he lectured and played a central role at Eranos, the seminal conference series in analytical psychology. His writings include Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, The Origins and History of Consciousness, and The Great Mother. The correspondence between C.G. Jung and Neumann was published in 2015.

Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Israel and founding director of the Analytical Psychotherapy Program at Bar Ilan University. He is the author of several books, including The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, Enemy, Cripple and Beggar, The Complex, and The Hero and His Shadow - available at Amazon, Fisher King Press, and other online book sellers.

Mark Kyburz specializes in scholarly translation from German into English and is the co-translator of C. G. Jung's The Red Book (2009). He lives and works in Zürich, Switzerland.

This unique book can now be ordered from Amazon (hard copy, paperback and kindle), Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, or directly from Chiron.

A wood cut by Jacob Steinhardt.
Copyright Yosefa Bar-On Steinhardt. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

THE SHADOW AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL – INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL ASPECTS


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?

SERIES SEMINAR DATES:
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).

READINGS

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

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

PRESENTERS

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: http://ashevillejungcenter.org/evil/#sthash.8uVXbHZ6.dpuf

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey


The Goodreads Book Giveaway of The Cycle of Life finished on December 20. 755 people entered, and the winner has received her copy of the book - thank you for entering the Giveaway!

And thank you all who have read the book, bought it and given it as a gift, the very many who have commented so positively on the book, and all of you who keep buying and reading it - that is all a true gift to me.

Chapter 1, The Journey, opens with Cavafy's exceptional poem Ithaka:

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Constantine Petrou Cavafy

Steve Zemmelman writes in Containing the light, in Spring Journal, 2015:

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.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Human Soul: Lost in Transition at the Dawn of a New Era - audio recording


with Dr. Erel Shalit

A Public Event on the Pacifica Institute Ladera Lane Campus, Barrett Center
Thursday, November 12th from 7:15 – 9:00 p.m.

An audio recording of the lecture is now available here, beginning with Joe Cambray's introduction.

The post-modern condition is characterized by a multitude of perspectives and narratives, challenging the view and the value of central, universal truths. The changes generated by this existential condition affect the individual as well as society, the experience of interiority as well as the perception of external reality. In cyberspace, the internal and the external sometimes converge, persona and shadow may merge, and the ego's sense of identity may become detached from its roots in the Self.

The lecture will present these developments, including the Transient Personality, who traverses time, space, narratives and a plenitude of faces at great ease, but does not stay in one place either in external reality, or within him- or herself.

Dr. Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Tel Aviv. He is a past President of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology, founding Director of the Jungian Analytical Psychotherapy Program at Bar Ilan University, and past Director of the Shamai Davidson Community Mental Health Clinic, at the Shalvata Psychiatric Centre in Israel.

He is the author of several books, among them The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey; Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path; The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego; The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel, and the novella Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return; and with Nancy Swift Furlotti, he has edited The Dream and its Amplification. Dr. Erel Shalit is also the editor of Jacob and Esau: On the Collective Symbolism of the Brother Motif, a previously unpublished book by Erich Neumann, and Turbulent Times, Creative Minds - Erich Neumann and C.G. Jung in Relationship, co-edited with Murray Stein, as well as the author of a forthcoming book on The Human Soul in Transition, at the Dawn of a New Era.

Last spring Dr. Shalit chaired the Jung-Neumann Conference, April 24-26, 2015 in kibbutz Shefayim, Israel.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Night of Broken Glass, 75 years ago




77 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 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.
.... 
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.” ...

"Peace in our time"
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? ...
@Howard Fox. http://howardfox.com

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Cycle of Life Book Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a first edition paperback copy of THE CYCLE OF LIFE: THEMES AND TALES OF THE JOURNEY by Erel Shalit.

In the first half of life, the task of the young traveler is to depart from home, to step out into the world in search for his or her adventure, to find his or her own individual path. However, in the second half, we find ourselves on what often amounts to a very long journey in search of Home. In many a tale, the hero, for instance Gilgamesh, sets off on his road to find life's elixir, while other stories, such as the Odyssey, revolve around the hero's long and arduous journey home.

This archetypal journey of life is constantly repeated along the never-ending process of individuation. We find ourselves returning to this venture repeatedly, every night, as we set out on our nightly voyage into the landscape of our unconscious.

From the Bible to Shakespeare, to Carl Jung and to Erik Erikson, Erel Shalit's book, THE CYCLE OF LIFE poetically and informatively presents "the themes and tales of the journey". THE CYCLE OF LIFE received the Eric Hoffer Book Award Honors (in Culture), 2012.

Erel Shalit is a Jungian psychoanalyst in Ra’anana, Israel. He is the author of several publications, including Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path, The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel, The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego, and Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return. With Nancy Furlotti, he co-edited The Dream and It’s Amplification, also a Fisher King Press publication. Dr. Shalit lectures at professional institutes, universities, and cultural forums in Israel, Europe, and the United States.

Click here to enter the book giveaway.