One of the great strength (and frustrating part) of Jung’s work is that it offers a great deal of freedom. There is no predefined way or fix-all technique, at the notable exception that one must pay attention to one’s dreams.
As I was reading Marie-Lousie von Franz’s “C. G. Jung, his myth in our time“, I encountered the following idea: The first dream which one can recall from childhood often sets forth in symbolic form, as Jung later remarked, the essence of an entire life, or of the first part of life. It reflects, so to speak, a piece of the “inner fate” into which the individual was born. (ibid.)
The Green Knight is a unique (and somewhat subversive) retelling of the Arthurian story, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The film is a stunning aesthetic and emotionally charged experience with a story that holds profound psychological insights that are worth learning from.
“The first layer of the unconscious, the shadow, is also called by Jung the personal unconscious, as distinguished from the collective unconscious. The personal unconscious or shadow contains personal contents belonging to the individual himself which can and properly should be made conscious and integrated into the conscious personality or ego. The collective unconscious, on the other hand, is composed of transpersonal, universal contents which cannot be assimilated by the ego. Between these two layers of the unconscious, the personal and the collective, is another entity with, so to speak, one foot on each side. This is the anima in a man and the animus in a woman.” (Edinger, An Outline of Analytical Psychology)
In 2020, the Philemon Foundation released The Black Books (TBB), a seven-volume collection of Jung’s private diaries ranging from 1913 to 1932. This is 11 years after the publication of The Red Book (TRB), which is an illustrated and augmented manuscript of the events from 1913 to 1916. This means that TBB are the raw material that Jung edited, reworked, and illustrated into what would become known as TRB.
Since March 2020, it has been observed that dreams have become more common, more vivid, and are usually on the dark side. Also, the dreams have started to include symbolism related to the pandemic such as vaccines, masks, social distancing, lockdown, etc.
Going through the ups and downs of life, one will realize soon enough that “what one wants” and “what one needs” are seriously not the same thing.
You’ve probably discovered on your own – and many times over – how unsatisfactory and short-lived getting what you want feels like. Worse, sometimes there is an overwhelming emptiness when achieving a lifelong goal.
Analytical psychology makes the singular claim that the psyche is, at its deepest and most unconscious level, structured. These fundamental psychic structures, called archetypes, produce spontaneous images that can be empirically studied through dreams, fairy tales, mythology, and religions.
A fundamental distinction between most spiritual/religious practices and analytical psychology is the focus on the exploration of the dark side of one’s psyche. While Christians reflect and pray to the Love of God and New Age people bliss out in mass meditation, individuation requires to go the other way.
A Decade With a Broken Compass
As I am getting closer to my 30th birthday, I looked back at my twenties and feel astonished that I made it in one piece. I also feel burdened by the number of things I had to figure by myself to approach a life that I do not resent.