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.
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.
Patricia Martin is a cultural analyst, consultant, and the author of three books on cultural trends. As a consultant, Martin has worked on teams at Discovery Communications, Dannon, Microsoft, Ms. Foundation for Women, Oracle, Unisys, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the New York Philharmonic, to name a few. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, USA Today, and Advertising Age. A blogger since 2002, Martin was a regular contributor to Huffington Post during its start-up years. She earned a B.A. in English and sociology from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Irish literature and culture from the University College Dublin. Later, she built a foundation for her cultural analysis by studying Jungian theory and depth psychology at the C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago, where she is currently a Professional Affiliate and member of the program committee. In 2017, she harnessed artificial intelligence to uncover the effects of the internet on our sense of self. A book on her findings entitled Will the Future Like You? is due out later in 2021. Martin speaks worldwide about cultural changes that are shaping the future and the impact of the digital culture on the collective. A native of Detroit, Martin works in Chicago and lives in an ancient forest near the shores of Lake Michigan with her husband and countless deer.
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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.
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…
This seminar examines the ways in which the archetypes of the collective unconscious guide, form, and vitalize our daily existence. We can perceive this archetypal influence subjectively in consciousness and objectively in art and literature. As Jung wrote: “The impact of an archetype, whether it takes the form of an immediate experience or is expressed through the spoken word, stirs us because it summons up a voice that is stronger than our own”. In this seminar works of art from pre-historic times up to the present are examined to see how they both express for us and evoke in us the fundamental archetypes of the human experience.
NOTE: We do not have the images that were used in this seminar, though we know one of them is Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors (below).
Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Earth with China Galland.
One of the most important features of a pilgrimage is its intimate association with nature through the kaleidoscope of changing weather and landscape that one experiences along the way. Fellow pilgrims, strangers at the start, may feel like old friends by the end of a long journey made sleeping under the stars, walking through rain and sun together. All difficulty and differences are endured in service of one uniting spiritual goal: reaching the shrine and receiving the blessings of the deity therein.
Many contemporary pilgrimages to the Black Madonnas in Europe and Latin America echo the earlier, pre-Christian veneration of the earth as the Great Mother. In India and Nepal, Nature herself is still worshipped. One of the greatest tasks before us today is to understand “what it means ‘earthwise’ to be human in the world today,” as Michael McElroy, atmospheric scientist, told the United Nations.
This presentation explores how the experience of pilgrimage and the growing awareness of the Dark Mother can help us to understand more deeply “what it means ‘earthwise’ to be human in the world today.”