Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Depth Psychology Alliance book club - Cycle of Life

I wish to invite you to the Depth Psychology Alliance book club for the month of February. During this month we will discuss my book The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, and I invite you to share your thoughts, comments and questions on this theme.

I write these lines from my home in Ra'anana, a small town north of Tel Aviv, at the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. This is the narrowest part of this small country, around 9 miles from the sea to Israel’s border with the Palestinian National Authority in the east (the local bus will take you cross-country).

This place in which I live, seems to eternally waver back and forth between profound creation and relentless destruction. Here, history fuses with mythology, and the heart of three monotheistic religions beats from within an area of a third of a square mile; a heartbeat that sends hurricanes of the spirit and floods of blood, across the face of the earth. From this same harsh earth arose, as well, some of humankind’s most powerful beliefs and influential individuals.

Hope and despair are common visitors in the souls of the peoples that dwell here, coloring their passions in dark red and their spirits in deep blue. You will find the terrors of war alternating at your doorstep with the dreams of reconciliation, reminding you how small we humans are, particularly when we have power and guns in our hands (on all sides). We are constantly reminded of the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of Psyche in each and every one. As Jung said, man’s psyche is the origin of all coming evil.

I have shared my thoughts about these issues in other books.* However, one further characteristic brings us to the cycle of life: the seasons. Here, at the eastern Mediterranean (which means “the sea in the middle of the earth”), the seasons don’t flow gently into each other. The seasons that soften the transition between summer and winter are very brief, sometimes barely noticeable. Likewise, the transitions along life’s journey, from the fires of adolescence to the gray ground of adulthood, for instance, may be sharp and painful. In some, this may evoke resistance and the desire to stay forever young, as in the puer aeternus or the puella aeterna, the eternal youth, who refuses to grow up. Others may prematurely, and sometimes unprepared, have to take on the burden of adult responsibilities, experiencing how the fire and the spirit of youth are extinguished.

My book focuses less on actual development through life’s stages, but rather on the archetypal core of the respective stages, or ages of life, from the perspective of their archetypal meaning. Consequently, the emphasis is not on the child’s development through the stages of childhood, but rather on the child as carrying the image of living in “the mysterious world of mythical images and magical relatedness,” as Gerhard Adler says.

If you are interested, please join the book club and read more

You can also listen to or watch an interview that Bonnie Bright conducted with me.
Furthermore, there will be two drawings, one on February 14th for The Hero and His Shadow, and one on the 28th for Enemy, Cripple & Beggar. The winner of the book will be announced the following day.
Looking forward to sharing thoughts and perspectives along the journey,

Erel Shalit

*Please see The Hero and His Shadow (the most recent, revised edition of this book was published this January by Fisher King Press); and Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return (if you sign up for my newsletter, you will receive a free pdf eBook edition of the novella, but those of you who, like me, prefer the ‘real’ thing, can purchase directly from the publisher Fisher King Press, or Amazon).

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