Jung at Heart
I was truly young at heart when I first encountered Jung, whilst reading a book by Freud, in my local library. Intrigued by him I returned to the shelves and chanced upon his memoir, ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ and sat down to read it. Being only fifteen years old meant that I couldn’t take out an adult book so it took a few trips to the library after school to complete reading. Anyhow I did finish it and although much of what I read went over my head I remember feeling captivated. Then as often happens, Jung and I (consciously) parted company for the next thirty years until, aged forty five years, I met him again and abundantly so, after joining a local women’s Dream Group based on Jungian principles.
As a professional who works in the field of Psychology I was amazed at the time that I had never previously read any of his major theories. However, I did remember looking at his name often along the years and then knowingly placing him to one side. On reflection I feel certain that I met Jung at the right time and despite being late to the party, because it definitely is a party, I know I shall be exploring his creative genius for the rest of my life. I like to think that Jung came sideways, like a crab, into my life. The Dream Group was run by a deeply experienced female Jungian Analyst who had studied for many years at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Although I had no idea, this was to be a profound life-changing event.
So What’s with Jung?
Quite naturally I hear you ask, so what’s with Jung? Well, in short, I woke up! It’s that simple, that splendid and that complex. My life transformed as I began to plumb his rich vein of work. Even today my knowledge of the terms Animus, Archetype, Self and Shadow simply alter the way I live in the world. Magick, quite literally re-entered my life, alongside a love for mythology with its roots steeped in life’s ancient mysteries. Learning about my personal myth was deeply revealing and the symbolism of Tarot played a huge part of that creative movement towards Soul Evolution. It was like being let out into a huge space and not being the person I thought I was any more. My old life crumbled and revealed the reality behind it. Like art, Jung had touched something on the inside.
For years I had suffered from nightmares, however, as I began to learn more about my dreams I realised who those scary monsters and shadowy figures were. Who the dark haired woman was, the one who always trying to help me, yet I rejected her and whose babies, countless babies in fact, that I seemed to be either mothering or giving birth too. All would be revealed to me during my following years of study, I’ll write more about those bad dreams in future posts. Thankfully I soon realised that my dreams weren’t as literal as I had previously feared, instead I understood that they were speaking in the language of symbols, desperately trying to wake up the sleeping parts of myself.
And my life, well my life started to make much more sense, validating to my pagan heart that I did not need to seek any gods/goddesses outside of myself, only to connect with the ones within. My life just got richer and richer as my love for this beautiful planet increased a thousand fold. I discovered the secret that the Soul is my Mother and have become deeply Jung at heart. I have reconnected to my creativity, opening that up, alongside my heart and sharing myself with no agenda other than to gather and impart wisdom for myself and others. Deep in the Jung-le the path under the leaves of my life has come into view.
Today as I look lovingly along my book shelves with my treasured collection of Jung related work, I feel fortunate to have collected many Inner city books (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts) over the years. I smile as I track their journey alongside my own. I have learnt about other subjects too including Sufism, read countless memoirs by Jungian Analysts, alongside Jung’s own beautiful and impressive Red Book and many more. I read them voraciously, ever hungry for more. My appetite surprised and shocked me at how I immersed myself in the work. Oh my goddess there is so much to say, re-discovering Fairy Tales and the incredible Marie-Louise Von Franz was a revelation in itself!
Journey of Love
There’s this scene that’s stayed with me from childhood when Sara Crewe, in ‘A Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, wakes up to find her austere, attic room has been richly decorated with food and gifts. A truly magical moment and this is exactly how I felt when I met with Jung. I had no idea life could be so amazing yet, don’t get me wrong, hard work too! The past year I have been focusing on my poetry and now await the arrival of a proof copy of my first collection in print, ‘A Liberated Sheep in a Post Shepherd World.’ During this time I found that only by working from an inner core of peace and integrity could I become fully creative. I learned that losing touch with this ‘still centre’ meant that my life could literally fall apart.
My love for Jung has been the thread through the labyrinth. Many years late, I was pleased to meet him. Like starfish I too have found the way back to regenerate myself and others, helping to metaphorically grow back limbs, unblock hearts and assist with rebirthing the soul. For me Jung was a true visionary who went into the darkness and turned on the light, shone bright and showed me the way home. Divine inspiration! For those interested in Jung a good starting point is his memoir, ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ as you’re never too old to be Jung at heart!
Time now to sit down with my new book which according to the back blurb is definitely the right book for me this next week. Thank you for reading and for all your wonderful support during this, my first month here in the Blogosphere!
Copyright © Deborah Gregory 2015