Shared Realities will become the textbook on Jung’s (originally Levy-Bruhl) intriguing concept of Participation Mystique. This is how Mark Winborn, the book’s editor, beautifully describes his own experience:
“One of my most vivid experiences of participation mystique occurred while running one cool spring morning. The sun was low – still making its slow ascent into the dawn sky. About a mile into the run I was beginning to settle into my stride; my body awakening to the pulse of its internal rhythm. As I entered a familiar stretch of road, completely covered by its dense canopy of rich green trees, I noticed in the distance a single leaf had discharged itself from the verdant awning. The leaf seemed completely singular: vibrant green on the top and a bold yellow on the underside. I watched as it descended; spiraling like a slowly revolving helicopter rotor. Time and space seemed to collapse inward – ceasing to have meaning or weight in the moment. It was as if I’d entered a visual/cognitive tunnel in which time was arrested and only the leaf and I existed in some unseen communion. After a few moments, which seemed to exist as an eternity, the leaf found purchase with the earth and the enchantment slowly dissolved. The leaf once again became just another leaf. However, the feeling of communion I shared with that singular leaf has now persisted over a number of years and I continue to experience the sensation that the leaf ‘spoke’ to me in that moment and invited me to participate in its journey.”
The newly released book has already been widely acclaimed, for instance by Donald Kalsched:
"Jung's use of the concept participation mystique has always struck me as among his most original ideas and I could vaguely intuit its relevance to many contemporary developments in psychoanalysis, from projective identification to intersubjectivity to the mysteries of transitional space. Now, thanks to the extraordinary essays in this book, one no longer has to "intuit" this relevance. It is spelled out in beautiful detail by writers with expertise in many facets of our field. The breadth of these essays is truly extraordinary. Reading them has enriched both my personal and professional life. I highly recommend this book."
And by Tom Kelly:
The concept of “participation mystique” is one that is often considered a somewhat arcane notion disparagingly equated with an unconscious, undifferentiated or “primitive” dynamic. This collection of outstanding articles from Jungian analysts of different theoretical perspectives and analysts from different schools of depth psychology redeems this concept and locates it as central to depth work, regardless of one’s theoretical orientation. What may seem like an ethereal notion becomes grounded when explored from the perspective of the clinical, the experiential and the theoretical. Linking participation mystique to the more clinical concepts of projective identification, unitary reality, empathy, the intersubjective field and the neurosciences and locating this dynamic in the field of the transference and counter-transference, brings this concept to life in a refreshingly clear and related manner. In addition, each author does so in a very personal manner.
Participation Mystique provides the reader with a wonderful example of amplification of participation mystique, linking many diverse threads and fibers to form an image, which, while it reveals its depth and usefulness, nevertheless maintains its sense of mystery. This book is a true delight for anyone intrigued by those “moments of meeting”, moments of awe, when the ineffable becomes manifest, when we feel the shiver down our spine, be it in our work or in a moment of grace as we sit quietly in nature. Shared Realities offers nourishment for the clinician, for the intellect and, most importantly, for the soul. I highly recommend it!
—Tom Kelly, President – International Association for Analytical Psychology
Introduction: An Overview of Participation Mystique - Mark Winborn
Section I - Clinical Applications
1 Negative Coniunctio: Envy and Sadomasochism in Analysis - Pamela Power
2 Trauma, Participation Mystique, Projective Identification and Analytic Attitude - Marcus West
3 Watching Clouds Together: Analytic Reverie and Participation Mystique - Mark Winborn
4 Modern Kleinian Therapy, Jung's Participation Mystique, and the Projective Identification Process - Robert Waska
Section II - Experiential Narratives
5 Songs Never Heard Before: Listening and Living Differently In Shared Realities - Dianne Braden
6 Variants of Mystical Participation - Michael Eigen
7 Participation Mystique in Peruvian Shamanism - Deborah Bryon
Section III - Theoretical Discussions
8 Healing Our Split: Participation Mystique and C. G. Jung - Jerome Bernstein
9 The Transferential Chimera and Neuroscience - François Martin-Vallas
10 Toward a Phenomenology of Participation Mystique and a Reformulation of Jungian Philosophical Anthropology - John White
Conclusion - Mark Winborn
Shared Realities: Participation Mystique can be ordered from Amazon or directly from the Publisher, Fisher King Press.