Friday, December 16, 2022

Jung, Sense of Place, and the I Ching



I delivered two three-hour lectures on “Dreams, the I Ching, Sandplay, and the Psychoanalytic Process” at 13th National Conference of Analytical Psychology and Sandplay Therapy in Guangzhou, China in December 2022. Presenters were invited to give brief recorded opening remarks. I chose to create this two-minute-plus film at Atwater Beach in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin to illustrate how one establishes a sense of place guided by dreams, Jungian concepts, and the I Ching.

My dream was of a typical Wisconsin meadow scene where every atom had an inner light; it was what Carl Jung called a Big Dream; a numinous or sacred dream. This is akin to a spirit/medicine animal attained on a Native American vision quest, i.e., an image and feel of your essential nature to be experienced as the foundation and guide for your life. The challenge is to manifest, to embody, that spirit in your life using the vision or dream image as your inspiration. In the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, the I Ching, this is the relationship between Hexagram 1, the Creative, and Hexagram 2, the Receptive. Embodying one’s spirit/essence creates one’s soul; soul is embodied spirit.

The meadow dream I had in my last year of training at the Jung Institute in Zurich was a factor in deciding to move back to Wisconsin, where I grew up, upon completing training. I began in earnest to embody the dream by conducting two Spirit in the Land week-long seminars in Wisconsin in 1991 and 1992. The talks I gave became the genesis of Land, Weather, Seasons, Insects: An Archetypal View.

James Hillman, a Jungian analyst and archetypal psychologist, developed the Neoplatonist concept of Aphrodite as the Soul of the World as a means of getting psychotherapy out of the therapist’s office and into the world; to begin to see ourselves as part of a Cosmos--the sacredness of the interconnectedness of everything. This is what I do when I go almost daily to exercise at Atwater Park and Beach: I remind myself, “This is what my soul would look like if it were a landscape”, which leads me to look carefully at every detail. I closely observe Lake Michigan, the beach, and the wildflowers on the bluff as they go through the seasons. I relate this in the video to the four phases in any cycle of change as described in the I Ching—Spring, Growth, Harvest and Trial (Supreme, Success, Furthering and Perseverance in the Richard Wilhelm translation of the I Ching). The many dimensions for each stage are summarized in this diagram using the Native American medicine wheel as a template in the chapter “Seasons of the Soul” on page 31 of Land, Weather, Seasons, Insects: An Archetypal View. Each direction has an association to a season, color, animal, attribute, stage of life, phase of a cycle in the I Ching, and a psychological type.



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