ABOUT THE C.G. JUNG FOUNDATION
Newsletter of the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario
Chiron is a newsletter that exists to support the work of the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario. It was established in 1980, and has existed in electronic form since 2006. Its name and masthead image, adopted at that time, are drawn from ancient Greek culture. In Greek mythology, Chiron was the last centaur, a son of the titan Cronus. He was famed for his wisdom, knowledge and skill at deciphering the will of the gods, to healing effect.
Volume 29, No. 1 October 2009
Editor: Robert Black
- Mark This!
- Upcoming lecture: ‘The Gnostic Jung’
- Fortieth Anniversary Party, January 23rd!
- Report on PPMC activities and the “Meet and Greet” event
- Recent Graduates of the OAJA Analyst Training Programme
- From the Editor
- The “Wand of Hermes” versus the “Rod of Asclepius”
- Letters to the Editor
- SUBMISSIONS TO CHIRON
- Past issues
By Dorothy Gardner
Helping us celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Jung Foundation in Toronto are three artists who’ve been closely associated with our community: Johanne Ferguson, Patricia Goss and Vicki Cowan. Each of them has generously allowed us to use images of their work in a series of seven spectacular bookmarks to commemorate this occasion.
Johanne Ferguson has been a member of the Foundation since 1980. Although her background is in Interior Design, her urge to paint developed out of attending to her dreams and inner work. She speaks with a quiet conviction that inner necessity should be the imperative that lies at the heart of one’s work.
Patricia Goss used to teach art at the National Ballet School in Toronto. She began to work as a sculptor about twenty five years ago in response to one of her dreams. Now in her ninetieth year, she continues to work at an impressive pace, and holds an annual open house of her work in her garden studio each spring. Her friendship and close connection with the writer Helen Luke is reflected in one of her limestone carvings called “For Helen.”
As senior editor with Inner City Books, Vicki Cowan has worked with several Jungian writers. In addition, her art work has graced many of their covers. She now teaches at her studio in downtown Toronto and for a number of arts organizations, including The Haliburton School of the Arts. For more information on her work and teaching, please visit www.vickicowan.com
We are also especially grateful to Roger McFarlin, an independent graphic designer and art director with extensive experience in marketing and communications, for presenting the work of these artists in such a tasteful way, and for generously donating his time and expertise to this project.
Laurie Savlov here. I invite you to join me on Friday, October 23, 2009, from 7.30-9.30 p.m. at 223 St. Clair Avenue West, Third Floor, for my lecture on “The Gnostic Jung.”
The Greek word gnosis translates as “knowledge” or “insight.” This immediately raises questions of consciousness. How do we know, what we know? How do we come to know new things? How do we gain insight into that which is not known by our sense perceptions? What is the unconscious and how can it become known to us?
One of the main ways that humans come to know things is through education. We are taught, we are told – this is reality, this is the nature of our world, and this is what we believe about what we can’t know – that is, God is like this or science tells us this.
I’m going to begin the lecture by speaking about groups of people, called Gnostics, who suggested ways of knowing truth and reality that are radically different from what most of us have been taught. They offered a way of viewing life quite unlike the Judeo-Christian-Muslim view of reality. And different again, from Buddhist and Hindu thought and practice.
This lecture explores C. G. Jung's understanding and use of Gnosticism in the evolution of his theories of psychology. I will attempt to take a position on the question of whether Jung was a Gnostic, in either some ancient or modern sense. The lecture will examine Jung's initial use of Gnostic ideas early in his career, and the importance of Jung's "Seven Sermons to the Dead." Also, I will speculate on an archetypal influence on Jung. In order to understand Jung, you should understand his interest in Gnosticism and the Gnostics whom he considered to be psychologists exploring the unconscious.
Gnosticism is not a dead, ancient religion or philosophy. Many people practice modern Gnosticism. The academic Gilles Quispel received a lot of attention when he said during a lecture in 2000 that, "Gnosticism is about to become the 21st century world religion."
Come to the lecture to learn about Gnosticism and the Gnostic Jung.
Image: The Gnostic archetype represented by ‘Philemon’ drawn by C.G. Jung, from The Red Book, 2009.
A planning committee is busy working on details for our upcoming celebration of the fortieth anniversary of an organized Jungian community in this region. Would you like to be involved with the planning, operation or follow-up? Volunteers are most welcome. Please get in touch!
“What is it?” asked the Lion.
“Well,” answered Oz, “If it were inside you it would be courage. You know, of course, that courage isn’t always inside one; so this cannot really be called courage until you have swallowed it. Therefore I advise you to drink it as soon as possible.” The Lion hesitated no longer, but drank till the dish was empty.
“How do you feel now?” asked Oz.
“I feel full of courage,” replied the Lion who went joyfully back to his friends to tell them of his good fortune.
Frank L. Baum, The Wizard of Oz
Well, we are encouraged! So, like the lion, it’s with great pleasure that we report to you that our 2009 - 2010 season has started with renewed energy and many positive developments
We are just a few weeks into our fall programme and have already attracted over twenty new members. Part of this welcome surge is due to those who are taking advantage of the complimentary membership offer – when you sign up or renew, you receive a free membership for a friend.
However, while our new offer is a great inducement, there are also many new faces that have appeared as a result of our always-rich public education programme and our enthusiastic members. One recent curiosity seeker became a new member after wandering inquisitively into Robert Gardner’s lecture at the George Ignatieff Theatre at Trinity College in the U. of T. He was not only moved by the lecture’s explorations of “the ambivalent father,” he was also impressed by this very interesting group who were engaged with psychology and the stimulating matters of mind and spirit.
So, “membership time” is upon us again. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to take advantage of our great 2009-10 programme and equally great membership offer, which, as the ad says, is only available for a limited time.
Abundant new enthusiasm was also present on Sunday, September 20, as the first “Meet & Greet” event unfolded. The C.G. Jung Foundation offices were crowded for most of the afternoon as Catherine Johnson, our administrator, with the generous help of our volunteers hosted the spirited gathering. It was a lively time, stimulated in part by an enticing array of sweets and Colombian brew, but also by the fresh interest of engaged newcomers, numerous old friends, a healthy clutch of analysts and a devoted contingent from the C.G. Jung Society at the U. of T. There was no end to the animated conversation, and the evident energy in the room augured well for our plans for more social activities. You can plan to attend this one again next year.
As revealed in the lead article in this issue of Chiron, we are fortunate to have brought together many generous contributions to create a striking series of seven C. G. Jung Foundation bookmarks. Not only do these attractive pieces reflect the abiding connection of psyche and creativity that we all affirm, they also are a tribute to the abundant creativity that is alive in our community. We hope that these pieces will help us remember and celebrate how we continue to come together over words and images. We will be handing out a different bookmark at each of our main public events … another reward (and inducement!) for your continuing support and participation.
We sense that the lively start to the new season is a good omen of things to come. We are looking forward to many new events including our 40th Anniversary Party on January 23rd and other enticing new offerings such as “Jungian Views on Burning Issues,” which we will be staging in the spring (more details to come).
We welcome your ideas and feedback. Please feel free to contact us through the Foundation office.
Tim Pilgrim, Robert Black, Caroline Duetz, Robert Gardner.
As you read on the first page, the fortieth anniversary of organized Jungian activity in this region is coming up in January 2010 – and in April 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of C.G. Jung’s death. This feels like a ready-made time celebrate with a year-long reflection on and awareness of our past, present and future as a distinct group of people.
The original Jungian society in this region was called the Analytical Psychology Society of Ontario (APSO). It was established by the late James Shaw, a businessman who had a long term Jungian analysis in New York City before moving to Canada. It was that group which morphed into a legal entity with charitable status, the present C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario.
We are very keen not to omit anyone who might like to attend, especially founders and friends whose path may have diverged from ours since those days. If you know anyone in that category, would you please spread the news? Or let us have their contact information, so that we might get in touch with them.
At a ceremony on September 19 in the C.G. Jung Foundation offices, three more graduates of the local analyst training programme were granted their Diploma in Analytical Psychology. They are:
10. Andrew Benedetto
Andrew is a native of Toronto where he lives and is in private practice.
He has a degree in psychology and a Masters of Business Administration. Andrew has been particularly drawn to work on and resolve complex business problems in both large corporations and smaller organizations.
Andrew’s path of self discovery compelled him to pursue a long-standing attraction to the arts. He participated in sculpture classes and began to explore the images and symbols of his inner world with a new perspective. Andrew examines the role of creativity in the process of becoming one’s authentic self in his thesis, titled Pygmalion: A Study in Individuation. He maintains that attention to aspects of sexuality and relationship often left out of the romanticized version of the Pygmalion myth are key to the deeper insights and the promise of transformation suggested by Pygmalion’s act of creation.
Andrew enjoys performance and visual arts though figurative sculpture remains his true inspiration. www.andrewb.ca.
11. Terilynn Graham Freedman
Terilynn Graham Freedman lives and works in London, Ontario, and has been interested in and involved with Jungian psychology for almost 25 years. In addition to completing the OAJA Analyst Training Programme in Toronto, she’s been involved in Marion Woodman’s intensives and seminars, and considers her to be a primary influence in her own work with analysands. Besides putting energy into her private practice, Terilynn is a poet and writer. Her interest in creative expression is a strong component of her work as an analytical psychologist.
12. Jan Peyton
Jan Peyton lives in Toronto, where she has a private practice
Anniversary celebrations often have an effect of drawing the mind’s eye outwards to a place of greater perspective. From that peaceful spot, one’s consciousness ranges all the way along the timeline of development, dispute, choice, and sheer persistence. But it also ranges forward, to what is or may be possible from this point on. Anniversaries are not a bad thing.
Our little Jungian collective – the outfit that puts out this newsletter – was established almost forty years ago on January 19, 1970, through the efforts of the late Jim Shaw. The meeting that he chaired had roots from long before that time, of course, and for a long time after the energy it captured and expressed lived beyond its specific boundaries. But still, something exceptional was created that day; something that endures; something for which we are now responsible. And so this anniversary gives us an opportunity to pause, to reflect, to celebrate and to move on with refreshed vitality.
More on all that in a moment. First, in the interest of balance, it does need to be acknowledged that on another level our anniversary may not amount to a hill of beans. C.G. Jung writes wonderfully on this subject, albeit picturing a broader canvas:
The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a giant summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch. (CW 10, para.315)
As we attempted to say in the last issue, the value of any collective in analytical psychology would seem to pivot around its capacity to foster “the life of the individual,” and specifically, the process of individuation. So it’s not the specific history nor policies nor leadership of our organization that matter, not even the instruction nor the activities it has sponsored. Rather, what matters is that consciousness is promoted and self-awareness encouraged and celebrated – that the soul is heard, given its due, and fed.
Whatever our history, and whatever our beliefs may be about that history, the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario finds itself now, forty years on, well-positioned to create an interesting future, “our own epoch.” The farsighted establishment of an Analyst Training Programme by the local voting group of Jungian Analysts is creating the kind of professional leadership that Jim Shaw envisaged those decades ago, one that is both connected and responsive to the wider Jungian world, and proficient in steering this outfit from and at a deep level to foster “the life of the individual.”
There is much work to be done, and there are many places to be found for the enthusiasm and expertise of members in the running of the Foundation. But challenges can be faced, for our hearts and minds are open, and the future looks bright.
(From Cathy Lee Farley, Waterloo) The latest online version of Chiron … is thoroughly enjoyable, related, and informative. Thank you for all your work.
Many of our contemporaries don’t suppose that there is a Collective Unconscious, and therefore have trouble with the notion that they might dream about something they’ve never encountered. It’s easier simply to trust that the meaning of any image for a particular dreamer will likely be drawn from the dreamer’s associations with it. Even Jungians sometimes slip up here, for it sometimes happens that an image just simply has its own significance, no matter how much we would like to interpret it otherwise.
It is a mainstay of our Jungian approach to the Unconscious that the latter does not simply contain whatever content an individual has deposited into it! So when the Unconscious chooses to use one symbolic image in a dream, and not another, even one that seems to be closely related, our belief as Jungians is that it does so for some reason. If we are paying attention to unconscious material, we should grasp this fact and treat it with the greatest seriousness.
A primary example of this is the κηρύκειον, the caduceus or Wand of Hermes, and the αςκλεπιαν, the Rod of Asclepius (Asklepios, Aesculapius). In North America the two symbols became confused when medical textbooks printed with the Wand (a messenger’s symbol often used by printers) were confused with the Rod. But we’re getting ahead of our story.
The ancient Greeks believed that the Wand of Hermes derived from a rod with two pendant ribbons that a public messenger held when making his official announcements. One myth of origin thought that Hermes had come across two warring serpents, and used a stick to separate them; in that case, such an image in a dream might suggest a peace-making energy. In this context, a sub-meaning of commerce grew up – for when such a herald proclaimed peace between two states, free exchange between them was possible. A far more complicated myth-series suggests that the prophet Tiresias came across two serpents copulating and killed the female with his staff. The angry Hera transformed him into a woman, and he bore that form for seven years; after his death, the wand and its transformative powers passed into the possession of Hermes. Here, interpretation of such a dream image would be far trickier. There are other myths of explanation as well, and discernment is needed to determine which, if any, have bearing.
The Rod of Asclepius
The likeliest origin of the Rod is a “final exam” for the office of physician, that is, the slow extraction of a parasitic worm from beneath the skin by wrapping it slowly around a small twig. Here the symbolic image in the psyche might indicate some aspect of health, particularly the removal of a pernicious influence. But there is also an ancient, natural association of serpents with physicians – the shedding of its skin by the serpent as a symbol of rejuvenation. The first century philosopher Cornutus thought the Rod a very appropriate symbol for physicians, because “those who avail themselves of medical science,” which was the crutch or rod, “undergo a process similar to a serpent in that they, as it were, grow young again after illnesses and slough off old age.” It could represent this natural capacity of the body to shed illness, in company with medicine as “supportive crutch.” This crutch is often explicitly present in images of the Rod. And of course here, too, there are other myths and cultural references.
It is probably true that for most people, symbolic images like these in our dreams are relatively rare. But when they occur, they deserve their due: clarity of understanding.
The “bottom line” is that the Wand and the Rod convey very different energies. However much the various myths might be juxtaposed and stretched nowadays to pretend that the modern cultural confusion (read, ignorance) is justified, these signs have objectively different significances. Why not respond to the initiative of the Unconscious, and engage with what it has presented to us?
Fortunately for us, the Unconscious would often seem to be relatively patient. If one way is blocked, it will almost certainly try another. But we shouldn’t forget that it does seem to be conservative, and that it continues to use images and words that have long since fallen out of general use. So why not attempt, when it speaks specifically, with particular content and not with other, to understand as exactly as one can what it is trying to say? To do less may be to misunderstand pretty thoroughly – as in this example – an important letter from a friend.
Readers are very welcome to submit short pieces for this newsletter. The main criterion for selection is that your piece – in some way, broadly interpreted – promotes the aims and objectives of the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario. That, of course, can be summarized practically as promotion of C.G. Jung’s work and any aspect of Analytical Psychology. We would be especially interested to know of events, persons and history, or expressions of the Collective Unconscious, related to this region.
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