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Jung Center - Houston

I spent Friday evening and Saturday at the Jung Center at a class on Spirituality and the Body moderated by a local Jungian Analyst. Now I must say that this one took me, well, a bit beyond my typical analytical, thinking functions but my introverted intuitive nature could not resist the opportunity to dive into the unconscious for a bit of self-discovery.

The workshop focused on movement and the images or emotions that emerged from the unconscious during or immediately after ten minute periods of movement. This was done in silence.  No music or talking.  Time was then spent engaged in writing or art to capture these images or emotions and to my surprise, the artwork was where the energy emerged for me. Writing is my default method of expression but while I could only manage a few lame sentences, I filled an entire large sketchpad sheet with figures, images and color.

I guess one of the things I most enjoy about these kinds of workshops is the people I meet.  Our group of 14 included a retired biochemist from Baylor College of Medicine, a delightful woman of 77 years who was an artist, a novelist, a fellow geologist, a professional harpist and a woman who is organizing community gardening in the Houston area.  It was a good way to spend a Saturday and it must have been real work on some level because I went home and proceeded to sleep for ten hours.

Since the leaves started turning green in March, I have been on quite a tear.  Motorcyle riding, fishing, gardening, travel and learning a bit of photography.  After all, isn’t that what Spring is for?  Now it’s insane clown hot every day, so I have reverted to indoor activities, especially reading.  And this summer’s theme is depth psychology.

I have been attracted to the work of Carl Jung for nearly 20 years, going back to my days of studying theology with the Episcopalians and Roman Catholics.  There was a lot of fascination with the collective unconscious, dreams and archtypes in those circles and a willingness to entertain different approaches to the God-idea, even among some of the more doctrinal folks.

Now, a few years after setting these lines of thought aside for ageing like a good cabernet while I indulged my happy hedonist nature, it’s time to uncork the bottle and savor them once again.  (I just can’t let go of those hedonistic metaphors).  About a hundred pages into Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious I realized that perhaps some warm ups were necessary.  That is some tough going right off the bat.  So I picked up Memories, Dreams and Reflections to gently stretch my mind in preparation for the more challenging essays in Archetypes.  Jungian therapist Robert A. Johnson’s biography Balancing Heaven and Earth also helped get the mind focused again.

So the symbols – some new, some old, are stirring with meaning again.  I had begun to suspect that they were dead for me forever but I should have known better.  Now though, some of the old ones are stripped of so many of the romantic trappings that I enveloped them in before.  And an old symbol viewed with fresh eyes is privilege not to be taken for granted.

Labyrinth at University of St. Thomas - Houston

Labyrinth at University of St. Thomas - Houston

The Jung Center of Houston is having a course this summer entitled “The World According to Seinfeld” in which basic aspects of humor are discussed.  Apparently, four of the characters in Seinfeld are archetypal images…

http://www.junghouston.org/courses/summer/applebaum.htm