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 Amazon.com account. (That’s right, you can now pay for your Fisher King Press book orders from the website with your Amazon.com 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

The Psychoanalytic Relationship between Israel and Switzerland

The C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann Conference
The Psychoanalytic Relationship between Israel and Switzerland
Dr. Andreas Baum, Switzerland's Ambassador to Israel

The following report appeared in the Newsletter of the Swiss Embassy in Israel

Over 250 participants from more than 25 countries gathered on the weekend of the 24-26th of May in Kibbutz Shefayim.

For once the center of the international attraction was neither world politics, nor a high tech business meeting but rather the intellectual relationship and written exchange between two intellectuals. On one side the famous Swiss pioneer of psychology Carl Gustav Jung and, on the other, his outstanding German-Israeli student and counterpart Erich Neumann.

The main reason for the event was the publication of the Jung-Neumann Letters, a book containing their correspondents of over 100 letters, written in a time period of over 30 years, revealing yet unknown discussions on various topics. And consequently the conference, organized by Dr. Erel Shalit, a leading Israeli Jungian psychologist, covered different fields of study: psychological issues, Neumann’s New Ethics, Jung’s art work, European culture, Zionism and the relationship of Judaism and Christianity.

The fact that members of both the Jung and Neumann families were present and spoke at the gathering added poignancy to the conference. Several Swiss Jungian psychologists were also present at the gathering, amongst them the head of the International School of Analytical Psychology of Zurich Murray Stein, and Thomas Fischer, the director of the Stiftung der Werke von C. G. Jung. In this context it was a pleasure for the Swiss Embassy and Ambassador Andreas Baum to host the opening reception at the Kibbutz and greet the audience at the beginning of what turned out to be a successful conference for all participants.

For the speech of Ambassador Baum, please follow this link: www.eda.admin.ch.

Dr. Erel Shalit giving his welcoming speech at
the Jung-Neumann Conference, Kibbutz Shefayim

The Spring Eranos Issue

A Note from the EditorNancy Cater
Guest Editor’s IntroductionRiccardo Bernardini
The Psychological Background of EranosOlga Fröbe–Kapteyn
Eranos: A Space and a Time for ThoughtFabio Merlini
Eranos: A Counter Current to The Common Intellectual History of the 20th Century?Hans Thomas Hakl
American Eranos Volume: IntroductionCarl Gustav Jung
Carl Gustav Jung: His Life Before His WorksGian Piero Quaglino
The Analytical Leitmotif of the Eranos ConferencesAntonio Vitolo
Eranos as DreamStephen Aizenstat
Encounters at AsconaMircea Eliade
On the Edge of the Round Table: Eranos and Theological StudiesDavid L. Miller
Eranos: The Study of Religion as a Religious PhenomenonBernardo Nante
Archetypes and Androgynes at EranosMoshe Idel
The Time of EranosHenry Corbin
Remembrances of EranosMichel Cazenave
The Missing Link: From Jung to Hadot and vice versaRomano Màdera
Non-Duality: The Deep Challenge of Bringing Together Ancient and Modern Ways of Knowledge in an Epistemic World ViewGrazia Shogen Marchianò
Eranos and its MeaningAdolf Portmann and Rudolf Ritsema
The Enlightening Role of Adolf PortmannSigurd von Boletzky
Eranos, Synchronicity, and the I Ching: A Personal JourneyAugusto Shantena Sabbadini
Our Relation to Nature Determines Our Worldview—Eranos and Today’s Great Cultural ChallengeHRH Princess Irene of the Netherlands
Historical Photographs
Kristine Mann: Jung’s “Miss X” and a Pioneer in PsychoanalysisBeth Darlington
Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century, by Hans Thomas HaklRobert Hinshaw
The Solar Myths and Opicinus de Canistris: Notes of the Seminar given at Eranos in 1943, 
by C . G. Jung, edited by Riccardo Bernardini, Gian Piero Quaglino, and Augusto Romano
Keiron Le Grice
The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Vol. 1, The Making of a Psychologist, by Dick RussellStanton Marlan
Books by Erel Shalit:Steve Zemmelman
The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego
The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel, Revised
Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path
Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return
The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey
How and Why We Still Read Jung: Personal and Professional Reflections, edited by Jean Kirsch and Murray SteinRoderick Main
Jung and Moreno: Essays on the Theatre of Human Nature, by Craig E. StephensonRobert Macdonald
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-LeeAnn Kutek
Creases in Culture: Essays Toward a Poetics of Depth, by Dennis Patrick SlatterySusan Rowland
Appendix I: Eranos Yearbooks (1933–2014)
Appendix II: Eranos Round Table Sessions (1990–2002)
Appendix III: Proceedings of the Associazione Amici di Eranos (1990–2012)
Appendix IV: Proceedings of the Verein zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Tagungen von Eranos (2001–2014)