Tuesday, March 14, 2017

C. G. Jung and Erich Neumann: The Zaddik, Sophia, and the Shekinah, by Lance Owens

Dr. Lance Owens has written an important paper on aspects of the feminine, which he generously offers for free download at the www.academia.edu site.

The paper was originally presented at the symposium 'Creative Minds in Dialogue: The Relationship between C. G. Jung and Erich Neumann,' held at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, June 24-26, 2016 (see also here).

On April 27, 2017, Dr. Owens will present on Neumann and the Feminine, together with Rina Porat, Jungian Analyst, session four of the Asheville webinar series ERICH NEUMANN – HIS LIFE AND WORK AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITHC.G. JUNG.

Erich Neumann and C. G. Jung each affirmed that Western civilization was at the threshold of an epochal transformation. Jung proclaimed in Answer to Job that the initiation of a new age demanded the “anamnesis” – the “remembering” – of the primordial feminine archetype of Sophia.  Neumann recognized the task of remembrance as an awakening to call of the exiled Shekinah.   Working from personal perspectives distinctly rooted in their own unique Christian and Jewish heritages, both men sought to liberate feminine Wisdom from the exile inflicted by theological, patriarchal and primarily logocentric cultural paradigms.  We will briefly review the story of Sophia and Shekinah, and consider how Jung and Neumann engaged this primal feminine image in their lives and their psychological writings.

Lance S. Owens is a physician in clinical practice and an historian with focused interest in C. G. Jung and Gnostic traditions. Since release of the Red Book: Liber Novus in 2009, Dr. Owens has published several historical studies focused on the intimate relationship between Jung’s collected writings and the visionary experiences recorded in the Red Book and the Black Book journals.  He is the creator and managing editor of The Gnosis Archive, gnosis.org, the primary Internet archive of classical Gnostic sources, including the Nag Hammadi texts.

The Search for Roots: C. G. Jung and the Tradition of Gnosis by [Ribi, Alfred]

Jung in Love can be purchased at Amazon, or downloaded here.
The Search for Roots is also available at Amazon, as well as downloaded here

Erich Neumann's Jacob and Esau: On the collective symbolism of the brother motif, and Turbulent Times, Creative Minds: Erich Neumann and C. G. Jung in Relationship are available at Amazon.

Monday, March 13, 2017


The third session in the Asheville Jung Center webinar series on 
will be broadcast live on March 23, 2017 (11 AM ET)

Neumann’s writings on religion and numinous (mystical) experience. Israeli Jungian psychoanalyst Tamar Kron and Jungian scholar Ann Lammers will discuss some of the background of Neumann’s understanding of religious experience as expressed in some of his early and previously unpublished writings on Hasidism and Kabbalah as well as in his later writings on this topic in works such as Depth Psychology and the New Ethic and his first lecture at the Eranos Conference in 1948, “Mystical Man.”

Ann Lammers will speak about Neumann’s unpublished early book, The Roots of Jewish Consciousness, written in Tel Aviv between 1934 and 1945. It is his only full-length work on Judaism. The story of this book – why he wrote it, how his work with Jung influenced it, and why he eventually chose not to publish it – has many twists and turns and includes one tantalizing mystery. The second half of the book, “Hasidism: Its Psychological Meaning for Judaism,” includes a key chapter, “Life in this World,” which for some reason disappeared from two of Neumann’s working typescripts. (By good fortune, it survived in a carbon copy and an early version of the work.) This chapter deals with the Hasidic teaching on evil, a highly paradoxical, unitive response to objective shadow. In my opinion, the fact that Neumann removed this chapter from his book, and never replaced it, provides a clue to his eventual decision to lay the entire book aside. It also gives us a possible point of entry into understanding the powerful little book which he published soon after, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic.

Tamar Kron will present Neumann's unique interpretation of the Hasidic doctrine of the "sparks" and of ayin, (nothingness or the void). In his "Mystical Man" and in his writings on creativity Neumann relates the Kabalistic Ayin to his concept of the "creative point of nothingness" which is the origin of consciousness and central to his thinking on creativity. Referring to the doctrine of the sparks Neumann writes that man redeems the spiritual meaning of the spark by raising it to the conscious level. In a brilliant exposition Neumann  describes a gradual process of transformation wherein the movement from ‘mute stone' to the 'speaking creature'  likewise denotes the individual's development of consciousness.

The webinar will be facilitated by Murray Stein and Erel Shalit

Further details about the webinar can be found here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

100-year-old letter reveals Kafka's mouse phobia

Haaretz journalist Ofer Aderet reported the following on December 9, 2012:

“A rare letter written by Franz Kafka 95 years ago has been purchased by the German Archive of Literature, at a public auction held this weekend. This letter was apparently part of the bequest of Kafka's friend Max Brod. A court recently ruled that this collection of manuscripts should be transferred to the National Library in Jerusalem, as Brod had bequeathed in his will.”

“The sale took place last Friday at the Kaupp auction house in Sulzburg, Germany, with the German archive managing to raise the required 96,000 Euros from private donors, wishing to remain anonymous. The four-page letter was written by Kafka to his friend on December 4, 1917, in the Czech town in which he was residing with his sister Ottla while recuperating from tuberculosis. In the letter, Kafka describes his fear of the mice lurking in his apartment, admitting that his phobia is irrational, and that psychoanalysts should look into the source of this fear. He suggests keeping a cat as a solution that is preferable to using mousetraps.”

While the contents of the letter have been published, “in books as well as on the Internet, the letter had not been publicly displayed before. The letter had changed hands several times over the last 30 years, passing between different private collectors. The German archive has now added the letter to its large collection of Kafka writings, and will put it on public display in April, in a special exhibition.”

“In all likelihood, the letter was part of the Max Brod bequest, which has recently been contested in an Israeli court. The parties to the dispute were the German Archive of Literature, the National Library in Jerusalem and the daughters of Max Brod's personal secretary.”

“A family court in Tel Aviv recently ruled that the entire Brod bequest be transferred to the National Library in Jerusalem. An attempt by lawyers representing Hoffe to obtain a temporary injunction to delay the transfer has failed, but they plan to appeal this ruling and the main decision.”

 Image result for kafka                                              Image result for max brod
Mice generally refer to the powers of darkness, “gnawing at the root of the Tree of Life.” They evoke anxiety and “nocturnal worries,” as Marie-Louise von Franz says. Or, in Kafka’s words,

My reaction towards the mice is one of sheer terror. To analyze its source would be the task of the psychoanalyst, which I am not. Certainly, this fear, like an insect phobia, is connected with the unexpected, uninvited, inescapable, more or less silent, persistent, secret aims of these creatures, with the sense that they have riddled the surrounding walls through and through with their tunnels and are lurking within, that the night is theirs, that because of their nocturnal existence and their tininess they are so remote from us and thus outside our power.
Image result for kafka metamorphosis

 Kafka provides a particularly touching and simultaneously powerful description of complexes in his (Never sent) Letter to Father. He was unable to uphold his own separate identity vis-Ă -vis his domineering father. It is amazing how in relationship to him the otherwise so highly cognizant Kafka suffered from a lowering of awareness, abaisemĂȘnt de niveau mental. Kafka says, in the beginning of his letter to father,

You once asked me recently why I claim to be afraid of you. I did not know, as usual, what to answer, partly out of my fear of you …,

And later he writes,

I acquired in your presence … a hesitant, stammering manner of speaking, and even that was too much for you … I could neither think nor speak in your presence.

Kafka is afraid and the fear paralyses him. The terrifying complex – Brod speaks of an “infantile complex” – directly attacks consciousness and detracts available energy from the ego. When in the grip of the complex, ego-consciousness and identity are impaired. Feeling is then no longer a value-judgement, and affect and sensitivity overtake us. We are overcome by fear, rage, or the like and tend to project.

Kafka feels his father exposes him by “indiscriminately” speaking about his son in front of others. He sees himself as the hardworking father who sacrifices all to his ungrateful son. The feeling of being exposed is common when a complex is activated, and complexes are activated by exposure.

Excerpted from The Complex: Path of Transformation from Archetype to Ego, ‘Franz Kafka’s Letter to Father’ (pp. 92-103).