by Erel Shalit
Available July 2011

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

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 ...”

Prominently, we are familiar with the journey of Dante, who at the very beginning of his Divine Comedy finds himself “Midway along the journey of our life.”

A partial list of 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
   Backward and Forward
   The Crossroads
   + more
II. The Child
   The Child in the Mirror
   Psychotherapy and Childhood
   The Divine Child
   From Divine to Human
   Eros, Psyche and Pleasure
   + more
III. The Puer and the Puella
   Between Shame and Fear
   Wine, Spirit and Fire
   Prometheus—the Thoughtful Thief
   + more
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
   + more
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?
  + more
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