Saturday, December 24, 2016

Obama spits Netanyahu in the face - and Netanyahu carries much of the blame

Before leaving office, Obama decided to spit Netanyahu in the face. The recent UN resolution is a harsh blow to Israel. It does not differentiate between all the scattered settler outposts and for instance the Western Wall and the ancient Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem.

Image result for obama netanyahuHowever, the ultimate blame lies with Netanyahu. HE does not differentiate, but has cast them all in the same bag. With the policies of his extreme right-wing government, he has turned not only Obama, but the entire world against Israel. By devoting his government resources, time and money, to protect illegal settlements such as Armona, rather than to resolving devastating poverty and disengagement from occupied territory, he and his government has thrown the country into darkness and isolation.
While the US abstained and did not veto the resolution, all other Security Council members voted in favor of it, against the destructive process of Netanyahu and his government (in which he himself holds several additional portfolios).

All this does not amount to seeing Palestinian maneuvering in a positive light. At the beginning of his first term as President, Obama asked Netanyahu to make a gesture to the Palestinians, to encourage them to return to the negotiating table. Netanyahu agreed and froze all building in the settlements for ten months, which sadly did not move the Palestinians. With increasing international support, they are not likely to return to negotiations, but proceed on the international arena, gaining increasing recognition, while Israel becomes increasingly isolated, much due to its current policies.
Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians complete return of territory (with exchanges from within Israel proper), but these possibilities for peaceful resolution were rejected by the Palestinian leadership.

Image result for barak arafat
Image result for olmert abbas

At this point, Israel should in my view (and of course Netanyahu is not going in that direction) follow a two-track policy:
1. Be open to both direct and regional negotiations, whether toward a comprehensive solution (less likely) or a step-by-step process, in which small pieces of additional territory is handed over to the Palestinians, each step accompanied by an agreed-upon step by the Palestinians (such as stopping incitement), and
2. Unilateral disengagement from civilian occupation: As a first step, freezing all construction in settlements beyond the security fence, followed by withdrawal from these settlements, which initially should be handed over to the military. Following agreements with the Palestinians, these settlements should eventually be handed over to the Palestinian National Authority. (When Israel withdrew from Gaza, the evacuated settlements were handed over, but sadly destroyed by the Palestinians. In this case, that part of the process should be internationally overseen to prevent a repeat.)

In the hope that in spite of apprehensions, 2017 will turn out to be a constructive year towards peace and reconciliation.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey on You Tube

“The art of life is the most distinguished and rarest of all the arts.” - C.G. Jung, CW 8, par. 789

Painting by Susan Bostrom-Wong
see more at 

 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. Many dreams begin by being on the way, for instance, “I am on my way to …,” I am driving on a road that leads into the desert …,” I am walking through one room after the other in a long corridor-like building …,” “I am walking towards my office, but it looks different than in reality,” “I walk on the pavement and on the opposite side of the street someone seems to follow me …,” “I go down into an underground parking…,” “I am in my car, but someone I don’t know is driving,” or, “I have to go to the place from where I came ...” 

Painting by Benjamin Schiff
see more at

Karol Domanski and Adam Kosciuk have prepared a beautiful video of The Cycle of Life, with a narrative from an interview by David van Nuys with Erel Shalit on Shrink Rap Radio.

Watch video on You Tube here (or by clicking on image above).
Listen to interview on Shrink Rap Radio.

Topics explored in The Cycle of Life include: 

 I. The Journey 
Stages and Seasons 
 Jung’s Stages of Life 
 All the World’s a Stage, and a Stage of Life 
 Being on the Way—A Way of Being 
Hermes and the Journey: Being on the Way 
The Crossroads 
II. The Child 
The Child in the Mirror 
 Psychotherapy and Childhood 
 The Divine Child 
 From Divine to Human 
 Eros, Psyche and Pleasure 
III. The Puer and the Puella 
 Between Shame and Fear 
 Wine, Spirit and Fire 
 Prometheus—the Thoughtful Thief 
IV. The Adult 
 King on Earth 
 Boundaries of Reality 
 Celestial Jerusalem—Terrestrial Jerusalem 
 The King who Refuses to Die 
 The Dried-up Earth 
 The Limping Ego 
 The Empty Shell 
V. i. The Senex 
V. ii. Homage to Sophocles 
V. iii. The Last Chapter: Self and Meaning 
 Ancestral Roots 
 An Oak and an Acorn 
 We Are All Beggars, Are We Not? 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Earth, Climate, Dreams: Depth Psychological Reflections in the Age of the Anthropocene

6-Week Symposium & Fundraiser for Depth Psychology Alliance
 Earth, Climate, Dreams: Depth Psychological Reflections
in the Age of the Anthropocene
Live Online Discussion Group Wednesdays, Starting January 19

Over time, humans in western cultures have undergone a profound restructuring of the psyche resulting in a traumatic sense of separation. In modern day, we face a growing set of challenges on ecological and social fronts. The era of what is now informally called the Anthropocene--a term referring to the significant impact of human activity on the planet- has arrived.

This 6-week symposium offers a multi-layered opportunity to engage the topic with peers from a depth psychological perspective, allowing deep reflection and thoughtful response, as well as real connection and interaction within the community. 

* 12 video depth dialogues
 * 2 of the 12 video depth dialogues released each week for viewing
 * 1 live online peer video discussion session each week
 * Online repository for sharing art, poetry, dreams or writing 

Video Presenters include
-Bonnie Bright, Ph.D. Founder, Depth Psychology Alliance 
-Steven Aizenstat, Ph.D. Chancellor and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute 
-Susannah Benson, Ph.D. Academic, Researcher, Educator, and Counsellor 
-Jerome Bernstein, Jungian Analyst 
-Michael Conforti, Ph.D. Jungian Analyst 
-Nancy Swift FurlottiPh.D. Jungian Analyst 
-Sally Gillespie, Ph.D. Jungian Psychotherapist 
-Veronica Goodchild, Ph.D. Professor Emerita at Pacifica Graduate Institute 
-Jeffrey Kiehl, Ph.D Jungian Analyst and Senior Climate Scientist 
-Jonathan Marshall, Ph.D Anthropologist / Senior Research Associate at University of Technology Sydney 
-Robert RomanyshynPh.D. Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute 
-Susan Rowland, Ph.D. Chair of MA Engaged Humanities & the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute 
-Erel Shalit, Ph.D. Jungian Analyst 

This symposium is a fundraiser to support Depth Psychology Alliance, which is a privately funded initiative that relies on the community to carry out our mission to make depth psychology more accessible in the world. Participation in this symposium is a suggested donation based on a sliding scale. Some full scholarships available for those who really want to participate, but need financial aid.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wild fires and sacred trees

After months of drought, with extreme weather and dry winds, fires have been raging across Israel, beginning November 22, 2016.
More than ten thousand dunam have been burned in 200 fires, with severe damage to forests, animals, villages and towns. A quarter of the population in Haifa, the country’s third largest city, had to be evacuated, and two thousand apartments and houses have been damaged or destroyed.
Human negligence lies behind the first fires, with the extreme weather causing wide damage. Then, Palestinian arsonists, as it seems, may have caused half of the fires, joined on social media by triumphant encouragement, such as the imam of Kuwait's Grand Mosque, Sheikh Mishary Alfasy Rashid, who tweeted “All the best to the fire.”

The tree is sacred, perhaps particularly so in a barren country like Israel, where almost all trees have been planted. Since the beginning of the nineteen hundreds, hundreds of millions of trees have turned the country from swamplands into a land of parks and forests.
Those radical Palestinian arsonists (far from all Palestinians) are committing crimes against humanity and against Nature, just like those fanatic Israeli settlers (far from all settlers), who uproot Palestinian olive trees.

The fires are now being extinguished. Many are the local heroes – fire fighters, voluntary guards at night, police and security forces, people in kibbutzim and in towns, including many Arabs, who have offered their homes for the many who have had to evacuate their own homes.
But an additional phenomenon during these times needs to be mentioned, possibly opening a window to reconciliation, if the political leaders will wisely choose that path:
Israel, recognized by the World Health Organization as the world leader in emergency field hospital, sent to disaster areas around the world, has this time had to ask for help.

The first to respond was – the Palestinian National Authority, sending firefighters to help combatting the wildfires. And Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, United States, France, Great Britain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, and Russia are among the countries that have sent planes, equipment and firefighters.
Israel has not been alone in this crisis. When it is over, the Israeli political leadership will have an opportunity to change its policies, to open a window to reconciliation, to invite the Palestinians (who have been equally reluctant) and other neighboring countries, to begin a new chapter, based on mutual recognition, mutual acceptance of responsibility, and willingness to give to each other, rather than take.

As a small gesture, 50% of royalties between November 27 and December 31, 2016, from the two books of mine that pertain to psychological perspectives on Israeli society (regardless of where you purchase them), will be donated to one or more organizations devoted to promote peace and reconciliation, such as joint projects between Israel and Palestine.

The Hero and His Shadow
“This is a fascinating book. … On the one hand, we see the hero, the warrior, the pioneer, the fearless man of doing.    On the other hand, we see the shadow, the dark side, … You see this dichotomy between the internal feeling of strength and forcefulness, and on the other hand a terrible fear.
   In order to properly understand Israeli society and the sometimes strange responses in certain political circumstances, we need to understand this terrible fear that is hidden within us.”
Prof. Yoram Yovell, author and psychoanalyst.

"… Requiem is also a story of the alienation of the Western intellectual Jew from their Jewish religious heritage and the potential for finding a way back to a renewed Judaism and humanism through a new understanding of self and other.  … it is a fight against denial, a battle for consciousness, and the courage to take a stand against evil that define the integrity one can maintain even in a situation that is seemingly hopeless in so many ways.  …"
Dr. Steve Zemmelman, Jungian Psychoanalyst

All my books are available at Amazon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Kafka’s (Never Sent) Letter to Father

An excerpt from the beginning of the chapter 'Kafka's (never sent) letter to father,' in The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego:

"A more vivid description of a negative father-complex than Kafka’s (Never sent) Letter to Father can hardly be conceived of. Mairowitz refers to it as an “uncanny level of self-revelation.” Kafka had intended to actually hand over the letter to father by means of his mother, hoping to clear up their relationship. Max Brod , however, makes it unmistakably clear that

    in reality the opposite would probably have happened. The explanation of himself to his father that the letter aimed at would never have been achieved. And Franz’s mother did not pass on the letter but gave it back to him, probably with a few comforting words.
   Kafka primarily identified with his maternal ancestors, the Löwys, whom he saw as representing sensitivity and intelligence. However, he also found in himself 

    a certain Kafka foundation [shrewd and aggressive in business] that, however, just isn’t set in motion by the Kafka will to life, business and conquest, but by a Löwy spur that operates more secretively, more timidly, and in a different direction, and which often fails to work at all. (Italics mine)
That is, his father identification was not activated, due to his lack of extraverted (business) and aggressive (conquest) energy (will to life). While Franz Kafka was extremely sensitive and introverted, his father, on the other hand, was extraverted, depicted by Franz as

    a true Kafka in strength, health, appetite, loudness of voice, eloquence, self-satisfaction, worldly superiority, stamina, presence of mind, knowledge of human nature, a certain generosity.
Lest we be tempted to believe Franz idealized his father, he quickly corrects this erroneous impression, adding that father also possesses “all the failings and weaknesses that go with these advantages, into which your temperament and sometimes your violent temper drive you.”
Max Brod and others have pointed out and criticized Kafka’s description of his father for being exaggerated. He says,

    Here and there I feel the perspective is distorted, unsupported assumptions are occasionally dragged in and made to fit the facts; on what appear to be negligible, immediate reactions, a whole edifice is built up, the ramifications of which it is impossible to grasp as a whole, which in fact in the end definitely turns on its own axis and contradicts itself, and yet manages to stand erect on its own foundation.
Of course Kafka’s description is exaggerated, self-contradictory and yet “stands erect on its own foundation!” This merely reflects that we are dealing not with a scientific description of the object, as if there were such a thing, but with Kafka’s imago of his father, and seemingly unbeknownst to himself Brod here draws the very contours of an autonomous complex.

Kafka’s father is perceived through the tinted lens of his complex, and as complex and object interact in the psyche, perceptions will be drawn into the complex and cluster around its core. This does not necessarily mean that Kafka’s view of his father is entirely wrong or distorted. Portraying his father, Kafka himself says, “I am speaking only of the image through which you influenced the child.”

I. Complexes - The Historical Link                               
The Complex in the History of Psychoanalysis                                                  
A Plenitude of Complexes                                                                                      
Jung’s Personal Complexes                                                                                     
Complex Psychology                                                                                              
The Complex as Path and Vessel of Transformation                                              
The Complex – Cluster, Core and Tone                                                                  
Archetype and Ego                                                                                                 
II. Oedipus – The Archetypal Complex                           
Freud, Jung and Oedipus                                                                                         
Oedipus - The Myth                                                                                                  
Hero and Complex                                                                                                   
Mars and Eros – the Drive of the Complex                                                          
Mother Self – Father Ego                                                                                        
The Primal Scene                                                                                                    
The Sword and the Shield                                                                                       
The Complex Path – From Archetype to Ego                                                       
The Wounding of Oedipus – Ego Defences and the Autonomous Complex           
Oedipus’ Journey                                                                                                    
From Delphi to Thebes - From Archetype to Ego                                                    
Patricide at the Cleft Way Crossroad                                                                       
The Riddle                                                                                                              
The Cancerous Complex                                                                                         
III. The Complex in the Shadow                                   
The Autonomous Complex                                                                                     
The Complex and the Call                                                                                      
The World Parents                                                                                                 
The Archetypal Core of the World Parents                                                             
The Abandoned Child                                                                                             
A Mother Complex                                                                                                  
Kafka’s (Never Sent) Letter to Father                                                                 
The Tower of Babel                                                                                                 
The Tower of Babel                                                                                                
The Inflated Ego - The Emptied Self                                                                       
Integration of the Complex                                                                                   
Castration at the Gateway to Individuation                                                      

      Available on Amazon 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Who by fire

Image result for leonard cohen tel aviv

Leonard Cohen, Sept 21, 1934 - Nov 10, 2016

And who by fire, who by water,
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
Who in your merry merry month of may,
Who by very slow decay,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
And who by avalanche, who by powder,
Who for his greed, who for his hunger,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent, who by accident,
Who in solitude, who in this mirror,
Who by his lady's command, who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains, who in power,
And who shall I say is calling?

Image result for leonard cohen tel aviv

Who By Fire? is based on the prayer, U’netaneh Tokef, recited on the Jewish High Holy Days. Watch the song by Yair Rosenblum performed by Hanoch Albalak

Image result for ‫חנוך אלבלק‬‎

U’netaneh Tokef:

"… On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severity of the Decree."
"For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately. It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man's origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream."   

An excerpt from Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return:

Abraham does not question his God, with whom he has sealed a covenant. He binds his son Isaac and lays him upon the wood of the altar he has built. The son submits to the father, Isaac to Abraham, and Abraham to God – a weakness of character? Hardly, since Abraham has already proven his capacity to leave his father’s house, and no less, when he argues and negotiates with God to spare the sinners with the righteous in Sodom.

Perhaps Abraham did not ask any questions because this was simply his adherence to the ancient practice of surrendering the first-born to the gods? The Scriptures tell us Abraham offered up his “only son Isaac.” Consequently, some Muslim scholars claim that not the little laughing one was to be sacrificed, but Ishmael the first-born, who was the only one who could be the only one of Abraham’s sons. Did not the God of compassion hear the lad who cries of thirst, expelled from his father’s house into the desert?

“Is it not a common practice to this day for many a father to sacrifice their sons on the altar of this or that divine expectation, of one or another ideology or firm conviction?” Eli Shimeoni asked rhetorically, when suddenly he started to tremble, as he wondered if this was what he was doing to his children. Had he sacrificed them on the altar of his beliefs? Just to keep a mad project going? Just because he thought, there was value in keeping an ancient culture alive? Did not our national poet, Yehuda Amichai lament the death of Stalin – mourning the leader of a country that recognized the State of Israel, emperor of socialist equality, the victor over Nazism, rather than celebrating the death of the dictator, murderer of millions? How easily do we all fall prey to false believes, only in retrospect realizing how mad we were!

He wondered, if Abraham argued with Terah when he left his father’s house and went forth to the land unto which God would lead him? What doubts pounded in his heart when he put the burnt offering upon his son, for him to carry the wood, some say cross, of his own sacrifice? Was this the wood of the sacred grove that so meticulously had to be cut down, as when Yahweh commands, “build an altar to your God upon the top of this rock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down?” Without being asked, was little Isaac to carry the Lord of Hosts’ mighty struggle against Asherah, the goddess of the grove, on his shoulders? Was he to be sacrificed, bound to the mother of the morning star and the king of the evening, the mother of the twin brothers Shahar and Shalem – yes, Shalem, the Canaanite king-god and mythological founder of Ir-Shalem?

The Biblical account is the skeleton of a drama, for the reader to flesh out with feelings, and to be dressed in the garb of interpretations. There is not a word of dialogue between father and son as they ascend the mountain of worship – is it the awe of fate, the brevity of speech when walking straight into inescapable tragedy, or is it the focused silence when you walk the line, stretched to its limits across the cosmic abyss? Or maybe it is the chilling coldness of mechanically executing daily movements, when you submit to invincible catastrophe, as when rather than waiting for the five o’clock bus, you are lining up at Umschlagplatz?

Is this the story of the Jews’ submission to the father, in which the instincts of the sons bend to the fathers’ discipline, with the rabbis as a Halakhic fortress cementing the power of God, the Father? Or is it the callous need of fathers to castrate their sons, who on the one hand embody their future and bring the prospect to “multiply exceedingly,” but who on the other hand, by their very prime and youth, seem to hold the sword that separates the future from the past, determining who by water and who by fire, who will rest and who shall wander, as the poem recounts our disastrous fate on atonement day?

In some legends, he recalled, Satan tries to prevent Abraham from carrying out the sacrifice. In his role as adversary, instigating toward consciousness, Satan introduces some healthy doubt into what otherwise seems to be passive submission. But in Biblical reality, it is only when the angel calls upon Abraham not to slay his son, that he lowers his hand, and puts away the knife with which he was ready to sacrifice his beloved son. He has passed God’s test of devotion, and the ram is offered in place of Isaac.

But has he passed the human test of devotion? 

Available at Amazon

like a bird on a