Merritt, Dennis

Institute Archive | Jung & the Environment with Dennis Merritt


We are sharing the webinar “Jung & the Environment” in full. The video version is available on YouTube.

Many believe we are in the Anthropocene Era, an era marked by the planet-wide influence of our species. The field of ecopsychology emerged in the early 1990s as a belated response from the psychological community to address the cascading effects of human-created environmental damage. Jungian ecopsychology offers one of the best frameworks for analyzing our dysfunctional relationship with the environment—and with each other—through an archetypal analysis of the layers of the collective unconscious. Jung was deeply connected with his native Swiss soil that was reflected in the ecological aspects of his conceptual system and his interest in alchemy as his main symbol system. Ecology begins with our relationship with “the little people” in our dreams and dreams can be used to help us connect deeply to the land using Hillman’s concept of Aphrodite as the Soul of the World. In 1940 Jung foretold a paradigm shift that he labeled a “new age” and “Aquarian Age”. The new paradigm will be based on ecological concepts and reflected in the economic system being developed by the sustainable economists. We must think in these terms as a species if there is any hope of averting a planetary nightmare. 

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Image for Hire Podcast | Synchronicity and the I-Ching with Dennis Merritt (Audio)

Dennis Merritt, member of the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts, is interviewed on the Image for Hire podcast. It was released on October 30, 2018. From the description:

The Skrauss discusses synchronicity and the I-Ching with Dennis A. Merrit.
Listen up, Cavedweller. Take a plunge into the divinatory system that cracks into the Tao, the binary code of the Universe.

Names dropped and subjects mentioned:
Synchronicity is a Dimension
How Much Is the I-Ching (Unanswered)
Compendium of Chinese Wisdom
It Came From 1050 BCE
Leibnitz
How to Question the I-Ching
Carol Anthony’s 3RD Edition Guide to the I-Ching
Time is Not Just Quantity; It Is Quality
Gausian Curve
The Rainmaker Story
“Black Elk Speaks”
Wolfgang Pauli
Hexagram 42 “Increase”
The Confucian School
Hexagram 23 “Splitting Apart”
Hexagram 24 “The Turning Point”
Yellow is the Color of the Medium
Donald Trump is a Trickster
Cover Story of the January 1976 edition of Scientific America

Dennis L. Merritt, PhD, is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Merritt is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich and also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. and B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty-five years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies have strongly influenced his worldview.

Dr. Merritt is the author of Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology: The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe Volumes 1 – 4.

Links: Dennis Merritt’s Blog | Dennis Merritt’s Practice Website | Dennis Merritt’s Page on the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago Website | Image for Hire podcast on SoundCloud

Ecopsychology Voices | Jungian Ecopsychology for the Younger Generation with Dennis Merritt

Ecopsychology Voices is an interview series with some of ecopsychology’s luminaries. Linda Buzzell and Carol Koziol host this series which is sponsored by the Canadian Ecopsychology Network.

Dennis L. Merritt, PhD, is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Merritt is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich and also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. and B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty-five years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies have strongly influenced his worldview.

Dr. Merritt is the author of Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology: The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe Volumes 1 – 4.

Links: Dennis Merritt’s Blog | Dennis Merritt’s Practice Website | Dennis Merritt’s Page on the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago Website | Ecopsychology Voices | Canadian Ecopsychology Network

Dennis Merritt | Use of the I Ching in the Analytic Setting

The First International Conference on Jungian Psychology and Chinese Culture was held in Guangzhou, China in December, 1998. My paper was among the conference papers translated into Chinese and later published in English in Quadrant XXXI (2) Summer 2001. An abridged and slightly revised version is presented here.

Hexagram 42, Increase

For many Westerners an introduction to Chinese culture comes through the use of the I Ching. This profound book, a compendium of wisdom extending back to the roots of one of the planet’s most ancient cultures, has become an important companion for many in the West, including myself. Use of the I Ching challenges the reigning scientific paradigms in Western culture and brings a dimension to the Jungian psychoanalytic process that is sympathetic to the deepest and truest spirit of Jungian psychology.

            In Jungian terms, one could say the I Ching is a book that emerged out of the archetypal depths of the human psyche and the psychoid dimensions of the Self. The origins of dreams and the genesis of hexagrams in response to questions addressed to the I Ching are grounded in the same source. The Chinese ideogram for the sage, “the ear listening to the Inner King,” describes the process and goal of Jungian psychology.

            Scientists are giving ecological perspectives more credibility, where patterns of relationships are central. Psychoneuroimmunology research and the statistical verifications of the power of prayer and belief blur the distinctions between mind and matter. Our outlook on life, the way we perceive the world, and our ability to reflect and see meaning in experiences have been shown to affect our health and physical well-being. Dreams, particular psychological approaches, certain spiritual practices, and the I Ching address these issues at deep and subtle psychogenic levels where mind and matter meet (1).

            Analysts are in a good position to notice synchronistic events because we work with dreams at an archetypal level. Synchronistic events are usually related to archetypal events like birth, death, strong love relationships, and jealousy. Circumstantial evidence that synchronicities occur prompted me to develop an experiment to statistically test the possibility. This was part of my thesis (1983) at the Jung Institute in Zurich entitled “Synchronicity Experiments with the I Ching and Their Relevance to the Theory of Evolution.”

            Synchronicity convinced Jung there was an element of the psyche outside time and space: space and time are relative to the psyche (3). Incorporating the concept of synchronicity into his theoretical system late in his life led Jung to substantially reformulate his concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious, putting them on a transcendent basis. Jung thought of archetypes as forms of existence without time and space, with the archetype per se being a “just so” ordering principle, an imperceptible structural element giving order to ideas and completely integrated with physical reality (4). Archetypes have a psychoid nature, meaning they have both a psychic and a physical dimension: psychic and physical are two sides of the same coin (5). An analogy in physics would be light, which behaves as a particle and a wave; matter (particles) and field somehow being two sides of the same phenomena…

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Dennis Merritt | Presentation: Inflection Point in the Anthropocene Era and the Paradigm Shift of Jung’s New Age

The following video is an online presentation by Dennis Merritt, based on his article “Covid-19: Inflection Point in the Anthropocene Era and the Paradigm Shift of Jung’s New Age”., with the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, May 10th, 2020.

Dennis L. Merritt, Ph.D., is a Jungian psychoanalyst and ecopsychologist in private practice in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Merritt is a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich and also holds the following degrees: M.A. Humanistic Psychology-Clinical, Sonoma State University, California, Ph.D. Insect Pathology, University of California-Berkeley, M.S. and B.S. Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over twenty-five years of participation in Lakota Sioux ceremonies have strongly influenced his worldview.

Dr. Merritt is the author of Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology: The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe Volumes 1 – 4.

Links: Dennis Merritt’s Website | Dennis Merritt’s Page on the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago Website | EcoJung YouTube Channel

Speaking of Jung Podcast | COVID-19: Interview with Dennis Merritt

Speaking of Jung, a podcast by Laura London, is a wonderful series of interviews with Jungian Analysts. In a recent episode, she interviewed Dennis Merritt, member of the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts, about his recent blog post, “Covid-19: Inflection Point in the Anthropocene Era and the Paradigm Shift of Jung’s New Age“. More information about the episode is available HERE.

Dennis Merritt, Ph.D., LCSW has an MA in Humanistic Psychology, a PhD in Insect Pathology from UC-Berkeley, and is a graduate of the Zurich Jung Institute.  He practices as a Jungian analyst, sandplay therapist, and ecopsychologist in Madison and Milwaukee, WI. He authored four volumes of The Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the Universe – Jung, Hermes, and Ecopsychology. His influences include D. W. Winnicott, complexity theory, the I Ching, and Native American ceremonies, in which he has participated for over 30 years.

Speaking of Jung is available through a variety of podcasting platforms and apps, including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. Just search for “Speaking of Jung” in your favorite podcasts app to subscribe on your mobile device. You can also listen on YouTube.

Links: The Speaking of Jung Podcast Website | This Episode of Speaking of Jung | The Speaking of Jung YouTube ChannelDennis Merritt’s Website | Dennis Merritt’s Page on the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago Website

Dennis Merritt | Covid-19: Inflection Point in the Anthropocene Era and the Paradigm Shift of Jung’s New Age

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a unique moment in the history of our species. Something so small it takes an electron microscope to see is disrupting millions of lives and threatening the world’s economy. Frontline workers risk their lives trying to save patients who may die alone without friends or family at their sides. A virus, a strand of nucleic acid that highjacks the functioning of a cell to reproduce its unique viral form, is bringing our species to a near standstill. Despite the wonders of science, technology, and economic systems we can still be humbled by nature, indeed, by a strand of nucleic acid. It is crucial how we respond to the situation. What can we learn from it and how do we go forward?

We start with an adequate framing of the issue. This is a matter of life and death, which means it is in the most fundamental archetypal realm and requires an archetypal perspective. The fear of death from the pandemic is bringing a sense of immediacy and urgency on a planet-wide scale. Death cannot be separated from life, death makes us aware of the preciousness of life, and death confronts us with questions about the meaning of existence and our place in the bigger scheme of things. Death can bring an end to systems and beliefs that no longer support life and a healthy existence, and that could be the most important outcome of the present crisis.

The virus is demonstrating to what degree we are interconnected and how much we need each other. The forced social isolation and six-foot distancing has cut us off from intimate contacts and group experiences making us aware by absence how important we are to each other. The ghostly empty streets in otherwise bustling cities are eerie reminders that our systems are in shock at all levels. Like a nightmare that wakes us in the middle of the night, this shock is meant to shock us into a new awareness.

Our species needed to be shocked into an awareness that we have been barreling towards the edge of a cliff for many decades while showing no signs of being able to halt our “progress”. Well before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists have been warning us about overpopulation, destruction of natural habitats, loss of biodiversity, mining our lands with modern agricultural practices, collapsing ocean fisheries, etc. Greta Thunberg rallied millions of young people to demand action on climate change but powerful oil lobbies and vested political interests have been unmoved. The long term consequences of climate change will make any losses from a virus seem inconsequential, making this a moment for us to re-examine our fundamental relationships with each other and with the environment.

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