Newsletter

May 2017 News: The Great Dream

woman dreaming“The great problem of our time is that we don’t understand what is happening to the world. We are confronted with the darkness in our soul, the unconscious. It sends up its dark and unrecognizable urges. It hollows out and hacks up the shapes of our culture and historical dominants. We have no dominants any more… and our only certainty is that the new world will be something different from what we were used to.” - Carl Jung

In this quote from a 1960 letter to the art critic and historian Herbert Read, Carl Jung lays out a concern for the world that he had stated boldly in Face to Face, an interview carried out by John Freeman for the BBC. In the interview, Freeman, mentions Jung’s prediction of the second world war using his intuitive understanding of his own and his client’s dreams. Then he asks Jung if he foresees a third world war? Jung replies that he does not, but this twinkling-eyed great-grandfather speaks sternly that the great danger in the world at this time is humankind itself and its turning away from its own psyche.

In an earlier letter (1952 to R.J. Zwi Werblowsky) Jung sets out his own personal mission:

“I am, more specifically, simply a psychiatrist, for my essential problem, to which all my efforts are directed, is psychic disturbance: its phenomenology, aetiology and teleology. Everything else is secondary for me. I do not feel called upon to found a religion, nor to proclaim my belief in one. I am not engaged in philosophy, but merely in thinking within the framework of the special task that is laid upon me: to be a proper psychiatrist, a healer of the soul.”

Read more: May 2017 News: The Great Dream

December 2016 Newsletter: Moving Past Limitation

MysteryThe ex member of the band Blondie, Gary Lachmann, has been writing readable books for a number of years now - on various alternative thinkers from Jung and Steiner to the more occult Madame Blavatsky and Jacob Boehme. In his latest work Beyond the Robot he explores the work of writer and philosopher Colin Wilson. Wilson's great point was the very part of us designed to make day to day life easy, the automatic part that could take care of driving or idling in a boring meeting was actually threatening the full vitality of our life experience. He records the elation that the depressive youthful Graham Greene had when he played Russian Roulette with himself and survived. He records the last minute reprieve of Dostoevsky from a firing squad and the vigorous sense of life purpose that coursed through him afterwards. Wilson argued we needed to consciously remember these moments of extraordinary significance and let them elevate our lives.

I met Wilson at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in the early 1990's when I was an undergraduate. My friend and I had self-designed a course on modern poetry that a professor has kindly agreed to teach us. Wilson was teaching on what he called Faculty X - the mysterious extra factor that the Occult world explored. This helped my friend and I clarify the nature of the mysterious heightened state that some poetry would achieve; that we had become so interested in. The mystical thread held in the best poetry that we would ultimately follow back to its origins in spiritual experience and teachings.

Read more: December 2016 Newsletter: Moving Past Limitation

August 2015 Newsletter

Remembrance DayThe summer of 2015 has seen the publication of The Soul Speaks: The Therapeutic Potential of Astrology. The importance of this for me cannot be overstated. In part because it tells my story of the discovery of Roberto Assagioli’s astrological studies and the way they informed the development of Psychosynthesis – just as Psychosynthesis influenced Assagioli’s friend Dane Rudhyar (revealing the profound and supportive relationship between astrology and transpersonal psychology at the heart of the twentieth century). But mainly because it expresses the most transformational vision that I have of healing work in general, and the fusion of psychotherapy with astrology (under the guiding vision of a democratic spirituality) in particular.

The name of the book comes from a translation of the word psychology: which literally means account or word (logos) of soul (psyche). In the context of the medical model which dominates the early psychological pioneers (Freud, Jung, Adler, Assagioli were all medical doctors), returning to the understanding of soul as the experiential ground of psychotherapy is a radical revision of the prevailing mechanical paradigm that would see our most personal or difficult experiences as problems to be solved, an illness to be cured.

Freud himself knew that real healing must transcend the purely medical model. He championed what he called lay analysis (i.e. non-doctors being therapists) and would call the primary lay analyst in his group Dr. Rank as a sign of respect – Otto Rank was not a doctor but would be respected as such in Freud’s inner circle. It is time for the limiting parts of this medical model to go because it traps the therapist within a simplistic fantasy of curing the illness of the patient/client. In James Hillman’s first, and in many ways most passionate and clear book, Suicide and the Soul, he writes of the transformative vision of soul within the therapeutic space:

Read more: August 2015 Newsletter

December 2013 Newsletter

Remembrance DayGreetings to All,

In this Autumn Newsletter I would like to honour Remembrance Day as well as alert you to some new releases, including a free webinar I gave recently for Kepler University, a new themed series of Blog posts, and my talks from NORWAC earlier this year.

Remembrance

That moment of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the fighting of the first world war stopped and that now sees people from all over the globe stop and remember the fallen; including those that were never found, never buried. Including those who we do not even hear of, those that might seem forgotten – it is a moral imperative then, a spiritual testimony to say that we will not forget.

In honour of the eleventh hour I share an extract from a second world war poet who if he had not died in that conflict might have gone on to become one of the great poets of the twentieth century, Keith Douglas, writing of a fallen enemy soldier, from Vergissmeinnicht (both a flower, a lover’s wish and a testimony; Forget-me-not);

Read more: December 2013 Newsletter

August 2013 Newsletter

Falling UpwardGreetings to All,

“How surely gravity’s law, Strong as an ocean current, takes hold of even the smallest thing and pulls it towards the heart of the world... This is what things can teach us: To fall, Patiently to trust our heaviness.”

-Rilke from Book of Hours

This wonderful quote, taken from Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward, refers to the magnetism of true nature; when it is allowed our intrinsic essence leads us into the heart of things. This idea of falling up is similar to the teaching of the Zen Buddhist teacher Adyashanti when he says he "fell into enlightenment" primarily when the verb of his self-ing, his me-ing, ran out of steam. It is a metaphor for the spiritual nature of gravity: that eventually our own depth guarantees us truth. A truth that is self-revealing once our own self projects and vanity dissipates.

Everything that serves that depth serves that truth; everything that seeks to conceal our depth seeks to obscure that truth. Rilke wrote in the first of his ten Duino Elegies: “Often a star waited for you to notice it.” We are always waiting to be noticed. The best poets like to remind us that life is waiting for us to notice it!

Read more: August 2013 Newsletter

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