On the Nature of the Psyche

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Spending time in the company of this ‘old master’ can never be miss-spent. In itself, Carl Jung’s exquisite writing is a delicious experience. Not to mention the profundity and depth of his thought. On the Nature of the Psyche will leave any mindful reader enriched. [More comprehensive review to follow.]

Re-Visioning Psychology

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re-visioning psychology

Regarded by some as James Hillman’s magnum opus, Re-Visioning Psychology certainly is a groundbreaking, paradigm-shattering contribution to the field of Psychology. Not only at the time when it was written, which is more than forty years ago, but perhaps even more so today. This is a book that took Hillman to the shortlist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title is not to be taken lightly. Anyone who not only reads, but also deeply digests Re-Visioning Psychology cannot come away from it without being fundamentally shaken up. And realising that at least 80% of what is practiced under the banner ‘Psychology’ is not in fact logos […]

Encounter in the forest

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encounter in the forest

‘Do not say the moment was imagined Do not stoop to strategies like this As someone long prepared for this to happen Go firmly to the window, drink it in Exquisite music Alexandra laughing Your first commitments tangible again … As someone long prepared for the occasion In full command of every plan you wrecked Do not choose a coward’s explanation that hides behind the cause and the effect’ – Leonard Cohen, from his song  Alexandra Leaving High up in the forest, early morning. No-one else around this high up, so early. Space to breathe. A tender layer of clouds stretching across the flowing hills […]

The mystery of meditation

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mystery of meditation

‘Not much to offer you – just a lotus flower floating In a small jar of water.’ – Ryokan, from One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan, translated by John Stevens The paradox of letting go of ‘recipes’ Poetry comes closest to communicate what happens in meditation. The events and landscapes of the soul are as vast and limitless as the galaxies out there. ‘As above so below.’π At moments, perhaps, meditation brings us to truly ‘see’ Ryokan’s lotus flower in the small jar of water. And ‘something happens’. It is as if a vortex opens up and we feel the most incredible […]

Ruminations on ‘God’

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On God

‘Theology takes Gods literally and we do not. In archetypal psychology Gods are imagined. They are formulated ambiguously, as metaphors for modes of experience…. They are the lords of the soul’s realms of being…. The soul cannot be, except in one of their patterns. All psychic reality is governed by one or another archetypal fantasy, given sanction by a God. I cannot but be in them.’ – James Hillman, from Re-Visioning Psychology When we truly hear the above quote from James Hillman, we ‘see’ that we cannot speak of soul without attending to the meaning of ‘God’. It means Psychology inevitably dances intimately with Theology. […]

On the inside of God’s face

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archetypes

‘Religious experience is absolute; it cannot be disputed. You can only say that you have never had such an experience, whereupon your opponent will reply: “Sorry, I have.” And there your discussion will come to an end.’ – Carl Gustav Jung, from Psychology and Religion Archetypal Psychology The psychology infusing the culture from where these pages are written is called Archetypal Psychology. Therefore, a central question is, ‘what are archetypes?’ Some say they are really no less than ‘the gods’ or different aspects of God. Others emphasise that they are ‘patterns for life and death from which all that exist are born’. That they pre-exist […]