• Intimacy: Venturing the Uncertainties of the Heart - Jungian Odyssey Series 2008, Vol. I

Intimacy: Venturing the Uncertainties of the Heart

Jungian Odyssey Series 2008, Vol. I

Isabelle Meier / Stacy Wirth / John Hill Eds.

225 pages, ISBN 978-1-882670-84-0

This collection of essays is the first publication to ensue from the Jungian Odyssey, which began in 2006 and developed into an annual conference and retreat in Switzerland. The authors are Jungian training analysts and faculty members all of whom lectured at Jungian Odyssey 2008.

Addressing a broad audience and adopting a variety of approaches, the authors link intimacy to love and hate, home and homesickness, belonging and yearning to belong, Eros and transcendence, the known and unknown, and even to the encounter with the divine. Rather than seeking definitive answers or cures, the authors circumambulate the many guises of the heart and the ways in which intimacy and uncertainty enter our lives.

Note from the Publisher Nancy Cater
Foreword Murray Stein
Introduction Isabelle Meier, Stacy Wirth, John Hill
The Ear of the Heart: Weaving a Tapestry of Transformative Listening in Song and Story Noirin NiRiain
Paul Klee and the Symbol of the Mountain: On the Uncertainties of Human Existence Paul Brutsche
Home: The Making or Breaking of the Heart John Hill
From Linguistic Intimacy to Sense of Self Raffaella Colombo
Hephaistos, Born With Club-Feet—Lame and Ugly: The Intimate Relationship Between Hephaistos and His Mother in the Mirror of Our Time Kathrin Asper
Yearning to Be Known: Individuation and the Broken Wings of Eros Ursula Wirtz
Intimacy and the Arrows of Eros Mario Jacoby
Love: Our Most Cherished Anarchist—or Path to Failure Allan Guggenbühl
Love, Hate, Intimacy and Estrangement: Patterns and Pathologies in Human Relations Urs Mehlin
What is Wrong with Anima/Animus? Exploring the Uncertainties of Inner and Outer Relationship Deborah Egger-Biniores
When You Venture There, Uncertainties and Mysteries Abound Murray Stein
Initiatory Knowing: Reflections on the Lives of Simone Weil and C.G. Jung Thomas Kapacinskas
Rumi: Poet of the Heart

Dariane Pictet
Eros in Islam: A Glance at Ibn Arabi’s Tarjuman Al-Ashwaq (Interpreter of Desires) Bernard Sartorius

Kathrin Asper, Dr.phil., was born in 1941 in Zurich. She studied literature and pedagogy, and received her doctorate in Literature on Gustave Flaubert, the French novelist. She trained at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich and has been in private practice since 1975. She has given lectures worldwide. Besides many publications in German, her publications in English: The Inner Child in Dreams; The Abandoned Child Within: On Loosing and Regaining Self-Worth. Her special areas of interest are narcissism and self-esteem, problems connected with physical disability, trauma, as well as psychotherapeutic approaches and perspectives on fairy tales, literature and art.

Paul Brutsche, Dr.phil., was born in 1943 in Basel. He studied philosophy and psychology, and received his doctoral degree from the University of Zurich. He trained at the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich, and has been in private practice since 1975. He previously served as president of the Swiss Society for Analytical Psychology (SGAP) and the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich. He was president of ISAPZURICH from its founding in 2004 until 2008, and continues to work at ISAP as a Training Analyst, Supervisor and instructor. His special areas of interest are art and picture interpretation. He has lectured in many different countries.

Raffaella Ada Colombo, MD (1988) specialized in psychiatry (1992) and graduated from the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich (2003). Since 1988 she has been working in a psychiatric hospital near Milano and in her private practice as well. As a psychiatrist she has published articles on epidemiology, psychopathology and psychopharmacology. In a psychiatric hospital she is involved in research on cognitive impairments of the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. She is interested specifically in the relationship of mind and brain and the interdisciplinary study of the neuroscience and analytical psychology. She lectures on these subjects at ISAP.

Deborah Egger-Biniores, MSW, is a training analyst at ISAPZURICH. She maintains a private practice in Stäfa. She is president of the Association of Graduate Analytical Psychologists (AGAP), and was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Analytical Psychology (IAAP). Her professional areas of interest include adult development, transferential fields, spiritual growth; she is currently writing on the role of the couple in adult development.

Allan Guggenbühl, Prof. Dr.phil., received his degrees from the University of Zurich in education and psychology, and afterwards his diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute Zürich in 1994. He is editor of the Jungian journal Gorgo, director of the Institute for Conflict Management in Bern and is well known for his methods of Mythodrama and crisis intervention in various Swiss schools. He has many publications, including his celebrated Men, Power and Myths.

John Hill, MA, received his degrees in philosophy at the University of Dublin and the Catholic University of America. He trained at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, has practiced as a Jungian analyst since 1973 and is a training analyst of ISAPURICH. His publications include the following subjects: the Association Experiment, Celtic myth, James Joyce, and the significance of home, dreams and Christian mysticism.

Mario Jacoby, Dr.phil., maintains a private analytical practice. He has given lectures and seminars all over Europe, the USA, South Africa, Latin America and Israel. He is the author of numerous articles and 6 books on Analytical Psychology, among them: The Analytic Encounter (Inner City 1984), Individuation and Narcissism (Rutledge, 1989), Shame and the Origins of Self-Esteem (Routledge 1993) and Jungian Psychotherapy and Contemporary Infant Research (Routledge 1999).

Thomas J. Kapacinskas, JD, NCPsyA is a 1972 graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich. He was a professor of Jungian Psychology in relation to religion in the Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame. He is a founding member and senior analyst in the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts and the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, and the Interregional Society of Jungian Analysts and its training program. His principal area of concentration is the psychology of religion and the spirituality of psychotherapy, and as a sought-after presenter, he has made many presentations in relation to these themes over the years in the USA and abroad.

Urs Mehlin, Dr.phil., received his doctorate in Psychology, German and French literature from Basel University. He became stage manager and assistant director at the Grand Theatre of Geneva in 1967. In 1969 he worked as a teacher at the Institute of Applied Psychology, Zürich. From 1972 to 2002 he was professor at the Teachers Training College of Zürich, teaching psychology and instructor for Musical Theater. He received his diploma at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich and there became a training analyst for candidates working with children, adolescents and adults. He has given lectures and seminars on many diverse topics. He is now a member and training analyst of ISAPZURICH. Among his publications are Psychology, Psychoanalysis and Theater and Analytical Aspects of Artistic Creativity.

Nóirín Ní Riain, D.Theolog., is an internationally acclaimed Irish singer who has performed worldwide. A theologian and musicologist, she was awarded the first doctorate in theology from the University of Limerick in 2003. Her thesis subject was Towards a Theology of Listening for which she coined a new word, “Theosony”—from Greek Theos (God) and Latin Sonans (Sounding). She is currently writing a book on the subject to be published shortly. The Irish National television station (RTE) recently broadcast a major documentary on her life and work. Author of books, articles and CDs, she has entertained visiting diplomats on many occasions.

Dariane Pictet is a Jungian analyst in private practice in London. She received her degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University NY. She completed the Body/Soul Leadership Training from the Marion Woodman Foundation and is a Visiting Lecturer at Regent’s College SPC. She is an Executive Officer of AGAP and conducts training at ISAPZURICH. She also published two anthologies of poetry.

Bernard Sartorius, lic.theol., received his degree in theology in Geneva University in the year 1965 and worked for several years as a protestant minister, first in a parish and then in youth work. He received his training as an analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich, receiving his diploma in 1974. He maintained his analytical private practice first in Geneva and has practiced since 1997 in Lucerne and Zürich. He is a training analyst of ISAPZURICH. His publications include a book about the Orthodox Church, and many papers (in Vouivre, Lausanne) about various symbolical subjects, such as A Pilgrimage to Mecca.

Murray Stein, PhD, is Co-President of ISAPZURICH, where he is also a training analyst. He is a founding member of the Inter-Regional Society for Jungian Analysts (USA) and the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts, and was president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) from 2001 to 2004. He has written several books, including Jung's Treatment of Christianity; In Midlife, Transformation—Emergence of the Self; Jung's Map of the Soul. He is the editor of Jungian Analysis (Open Court) and a publisher (Chiron Publications), where he has edited the Chiron Clinical Series.

Ursula Wirtz, Dr.phil., is a Jungian training analyst with a Diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute Zurich (1982). She received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Munich and her degree as a clinical and anthropological psychologist from the University of Zurich. She is now on the faculty of ISAP, and works as an analyst in private practice in Zurich. She has taught at various European universities and is the author of numerous publications on trauma, ethics and spirituality. She is also involved in the training of developing Jungian groups in Eastern Europe and is a member of the ethics committee of the IAAP.

Editors' Biographies:

Isabelle Meier, Dr.phil. first studied history and philosophy, then psychology. She is a graduate of the CG Jung Institute Zurich, with private practice in Zurich as a psychotherapist. She is further trained as a Guided Affective Imagery (GAI) therapist. As a faculty member of ISAPZURICH, she serves as a training analyst and Chair of the Jungian Odyssey Committee. She co-edited Seele und Forschung [Soul and Research] (Bern: Karger Verlag, 2006), and is the Swiss editor for the German edition of the Journal of Analytical Psychology. Her special area of interest lies in the links of imagination, complexes and archetypes.

Stacy Wirth, MA graduated from the CG Jung Institute Zurich (2003) after earning her MA in the psychology of art from Antioch University (1997). Her bachelor’s studies in dance and anthropology were completed at Mills College in California (1977). In 1991 she shared the Zurich Mayor’s Counsel Culture Prize for co-founding the Foundation Seefeld-Tanzprojekt (1984), and for her innovative choreography. Since 2004 she has served as Secretary of the AGAP Executive Committee and Vice-President of the ISAPZURICH Officers Committee. She is a member of ISAP’s faculty and the Jungian Odyssey Committee, and conducts her private analytical practice in Zurich.

John Hill, MA, received his degrees in philosophy at the University of Dublin and the Catholic University of America. He trained at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, has practiced as a Jungian analyst since 1973 and is a training analyst of ISAPURICH. His publications include the following subjects: the Association Experiment, Celtic myth, James Joyce, and the significance of home, dreams and Christian mysticism.


A Compass for the Journey

Isabelle Meier, Stacy Wirth, John Hill

It is our great pleasure to introduce this first publication of Jungian Odyssey lectures—those of Odyssey 2008, exploring “Intimacy: Venturing the Uncertainties of the Heart.” Everyone who attends the Jungian Odyssey undertakes a personal odyssey, in a manner of speaking. At the very least, he or she makes the epic journey to the remote region of Switzerland in which the Odyssey takes place each year. Upon arrival, one enters the retreat setting, one begins to immerse oneself in the surrounding landscapes and the spirit of the place. Thus begins the week of intensive study, contemplation, and exchange with a highly diverse group of individuals from all over the world.

Odyssey 2008 took place in Beatenberg, a tiny Bernese village nestled on a plateau 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, overlooking the glistening Lake Thun and across from the daunting peaks of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Beatenberg also features a network of dripstone caves, which penetrate deep beneath the earth’s surface and extend into the belly of Mount Beatus. Here, as legend has it, a mighty dragon dwelt, threatening the whole area until, in the 6th century, the Irish monk Beatus expelled the beast and then made of the caves his lifelong retreat.

Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging

The heights and depths of Beatenberg, with its dramatic views and inward mysteries, inspired Irish theologian, singer, and special Odyssey guest Nóirín Ní Riain to tune her ear and heart to the earth around her. From the three majestic mountain peaks, from within the erstwhile dragon’s cave and monk’s retreat, from the surrounding meadows, Ní Riain heard songs that cried out to be sung, that stirred her to bring their music to us, and which in turn drew us to sing with her. Her essay here is a humble tribute to that magical shared experience and to the other sources of her inspiration—not least to W. B. Yeats and Emma Jung.

Paul Brutsche, too, tunes into the spirit of the place, exploring its meaning for the artist Paul Klee. It happens that Beatenberg was the site of the young artist’s first love—at the age of 12, he had here his first conscious experience of the uncertainties of the heart! Richly illustrated with images from Klee’s life and work, Brutsche’s discussion demonstrates Klee’s lifelong connection to the area and his intimate rapport with the earth, which inspired his use of the image of the mountain to represent the uncertainties of life that divide the soul yet engender a yearning for transcendence.

John Hill—a native Irishman transplanted to Zürich—uses his own personal experience as a starting point to establish a link between landscape and the experience of home. Accordingly, he finds home in the intricately interwoven threads of place, the echoes of ancestors and kin, and the longing for paradise. Not forgotten is the painful experience of homesickness, which is often closely tied to the land—as is demonstrated in the experience of Swiss cattle herders and their plaintive songs, which were often repressed by the authorities because of the powerful feelings of nostalgia they evoked. Hill continues to consider home as a complex, feeling-toned phenomenon, which is recognized as such by scholars in philosophy, anthropology, and religion.

Radical Body—Mother and Child

If locus and home arouse feelings of intimacy, such feelings arise just as much in the relationship between mother and child. Raffaella Colombo explores this aspect by coupling neurobiology with analytical and developmental psychology. In particular, she focuses on affect attunement, especially as it evolves in the intimate vocal play between mother and infant. Colombo suggests that, “vocalizations and, later on, words as transitional phenomena, do not truly belong either to the self, or to the other.” Rather, the spontaneous exchange of “ooohs” and “aaahs” belongs to a mutual domain, here identified as the mother archetype, which, in ideal circumstances, provides the vessel of intimacy required for the infant’s emerging sense of self.

That the intimacy of the mother-infant dyad can harbor shadow is shown in the story of a child born with club feet. Kathrin Asper seeks to understand this through the myth of the crippled god, Hephaistos. In doing so, she sheds light on an archetypal relationship that is particularly colored by the child’s bodily disfigurement and disability, and painfully wrought in cycles of maternal love and rejection. Medical procedures further disrupt natural bonding processes, contributing to the child’s profound sense of being unworthy and unloved. Asper places such experiences in the realm of trauma, which “can be activated at any time later in life.” Short of adequate psychotherapeutic intervention, she stakes hope in the archetypal idea that “there is always a place in heaven for Hephaistos.”

Erotic Power and the Happily-Ever-After

Without a doubt, the experience of intimacy can encompass love and hate, closeness and distance, belonging and yearning-to-belong. Ursula Wirtz takes up such shadowy nuances, amplifying George Berkeley’s dictum, esse est percipi—to be is to be perceived. Even if intimacy has caused wounds or is entirely absent, the gleam in the eye of the other holds the potential to awaken healing eros, and thus also the capacity to experience previously unknown intimacy. The analytic encounter is no exception—and indeed Wirtz pleads the case for admitting the bitter-sweet power of Eros into the process of psychological growth and individuation.

The myth of Eros and Psyche is the lively point of departure for Mario Jacoby’s reflections on the depth of eros’s origin and its ambivalent creative-and-wounding power. Humorously noting that the index to Jung’s Collected Works contains no reference to intimacy, Jacoby turns instead to Jung’s comments on the “kinship libido,” which focus on the yearning for mutuality in relationship. Jacoby proceeds to examine the infant’s “innate sensual joy,” as well as developmental processes that can, when disrupted, disturb the adult’s capacity to experience intimate relationship. Finally, he underscores the value of intimate relatedness in the analytic transference/countertransference—but he also notes the obstacles and complexities involved, considering not least the impact of the analyst’s own personal complexes.

Casting his dry wit on the subject, Allan Guggenbühl sees love as a force that not only puts us marvelously in touch with our bodies and the sparkle of life, but also “makes us crazy.” Thus, we can also fall into the love complex, into tragic love, hysterical love, dual-narcissistic love—all of which sooner or later lead to dysfunction in everyday life, not to mention lost relationships. Is there a way of coping, or even a cure? Guggenbühl provocatively submits that such relationships must fail—because when “transcendental qualities emerge, as in love, we are lost. The gods allow us to peek at other realities every now and then, but they do not want us to get too accustomed to them.”

Drawing on history, biography, and the arts, Urs Mehlin devotes himself to the eternally recurring concerns of “intimacy and estrangement and the frightful proximity between love and hate.” He carefully navigates the range of emotion arising in these straits, and goes on to develop a typology of lovers, thereby illuminating ideas and behaviors that in effect avoid or destroy the experience of intimacy. While we may hope and struggle for the “happily ever after,” Mehlin cautions that intimacy “in relationships is not a permanent gluing together of the two partners, but rather a constant circling” around a mystery, which he calls the “Relational Self.”

Deborah Egger speaks of her own experience of being directly involved in the search for intimacy—in encounters with others, and with her own soul. Reflecting on these matters in the light of modern research on core gender identity, she challenges the terms typically employed among Jungians; in contrast to Jung’s binary, “heterosexist” animus/anima, Egger prefers the unified syzygy. This image, she notes, not only resonates better with same-sex partners and transgendered, homosexual, and bisexual individuals, but it also more authentically mirrors the feeling of soul, with its comingling of feminine and masculine energies. The syzygy as such proclaims the imperative for both men and women to embody the divine marriage and to live and grow in accordance with its fluid dynamics—both as individuals and in relationship.

Uncertain Heart—Unbounded Heart

Murray Stein creates a protected vessel for approaching the link between intimacy and transcendence when he asks, “Are we not breaching the walls of a sacred temenos when we talk with strangers in public about intimacy?” With due reverence, he lifts the veil on a number of relationships in which people become “deeply absorbed”—providing us a glimpse not only of relationships between intimates but also of relationships with nature, ideas, dreams, and religious symbols. Notably, these all contain the “silence and liminal space” that are needed for intimacy to intensify and assume the ineffable qualities of the uncanny, of mystery and magic, and of transformative power. Thus, Stein observes, relationship itself can be lived as the symbol and transcendent function that “breaches the boundary between inner and outer, psyche and world.”

The American analyst Thomas J. Kapacinskas was another special guest at Odyssey 2008. He, too, tackles the subject of transcendence when he compares the initiation pathways of C. G. Jung and the philosopher and mystic Simone Weil. In a highly detailed, in-depth analysis, he sheds light on the different ways in which these two individuals sustained unconsoled suffering in order to realize “the necessity of the void and of affliction in bringing about … wholeness-generating mystical experience.”

Dariane Pictet orients our view to the east as she notes the rise of fundamentalism in Islam, counterbalanced by the worldwide surge in popularity of the Sufi mystic Mawlana Jalal-ad-Din Rumi. In this very moving contribution, Pictet describes Rumi as the “poet of longing,” for whom “the heart is the center of all transformation, the seat of spirituality and compassion.” Pictet follows Rumi’s life and poetry, which point to suffering, longing, purification, and silencing, which Rumi calls the “polishing of the heart”—that labor that alone grounds and prepares the ego to open up to the “infinitely expanded dimensions” of Self and divine love.

In a similar vein, Bernard Sartorius introduces the mystic Ibn ’Arabi and his erotic, divinely inspired poems in Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (The Interpreter of Desires). With ardent passion of his own, Sartorius conveys the poet’s wisdom, underlining the reality of the heart, which transcends reason and morality. The pathway to wholeness is constituted in the lived experience of erotic love, unfulfilled and opening to the unknown—which in itself marks the presence of the Divine. Sartorius suggests that our avoidance of uncertainty in relationships and in ourselves may amount to a fundamental error, for according to Ibn ’Arabi, as Sartorius puts it, “Those uncertainties are in themselves the answer to your quest for certainty. There is no firmer ground beyond the uncertainties than the uncertainties themselves.”

In sum, the authors circumambulate the many guises of the heart and the many ways in which intimacy enters our lives—or seems to vanish from them, or remain absent altogether. None stakes a claim to ultimate definitions or conclusions. On the contrary, all maintain a deep respect for the mystery of intimacy, for the uncertain, the unknown, perhaps the unknowable. We hope that these essays will communicate the richness of Odyssey 2008 and, more importantly, inspire in the reader deeper musings on intimacy and the uncertainties of the heart.

Jungian Odyssey Series

Intimacy: Venturing the Uncertainties of the Heart - Jungian Odyssey Series 2008, Vol. I

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