A Love Affair With Carl Jung


carl-jungA few nights ago I dreamed I was Carl Jung’s mistress! His wife and I were in the big family room of his country house watching a fluffy black bear cub cavort over the carpet with two or three gray and white dogs and a cat. The bear cub was lovingly licking the faces of the other animals and they were enjoying themselves as much as s/he was. When I entered a study/library behind the main room, Jung was there with his other mistress and a few friends. He greeted me with a loving hug, then wrapped his right arm proprietarily around me. As I snuggled happily into his warmth he turned to me and said, “This is our time. It’s your turn now.”
My waking ego’s immediate reaction was to interpret this literally. Other mistress?  Wife?  My turn? I felt a bit indignant and embarrassed at the thought that I was content to “wait my turn” because he expected me to share him with two other women! But as my morning cobwebs dissipated, so did these thoughts.  I knew this dream was a metaphor for something going on in my psyche, I knew it had relevance to my waking life, and I knew it was good.
The tone of the dream reinforced this. Everything about it was suffused with love and trust. The rooms were spacious and comfortable. The bear cub and pets loved and trusted each other. Emma Jung and I loved watching their antics and weren’t concerned about being together. Everyone in the study accepted me and I accepted them. There was no hint of annoyance, judgment, guilt, furtiveness, anxiety, jealousy or shame on the part of my dream ego or anyone else as one would expect if this were a waking life situation. I didn’t know it was a dream. I didn’t know I was married. I just knew everything felt good and right. I loved being in that place with those people, and I felt loved by them.
So guess what.  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. I think this mood and dream were triggered by the recent news that I’ve received the Wilbur award for Healing the Sacred Divide, which is based on Jungian psychology. I think Carl Jung represents my thinker/writer/warrior/lover animus who has been working diligently for twenty-four years to help me understand myself, and for twenty-three years to help me share what I’ve learned in my writing.
I love Jungian psychology with a passion because it has changed me in so many positive ways.  For example, I think the black bear cub represents the wildness of my natural instincts that have been tamed enough to live comfortably with more domesticated beings. And the fact that the cub was so nurturing and loving?  To me this suggests my newly developing instincts (the cub was very young…Jung!) for spontaneity and play, nurturance and love.
Without Jung’s encouragement I would never have had the nerve to follow my passion for writing.  Even if I had, I wouldn’t have had anything to write about. The only thing I know much about is the inner journey to self-discovery and the practices that guide me; and writing is the only job I’m good for!  Given my serious, self-critical and perfectionist nature, it’s hard for me to imagine what I’d be like now if I hadn’t figured this out.  Dissatisfied? Disillusioned? Unfulfilled? Disappointed? Resigned to a meaningless, unlived life? Ashamed of myself for not fulfilling my potential? Surely I’d be feeling all these things. Bitter?  Probably that too.
Yes, I’m having a love affair with Carl Jung, and apparently  it really is our time and my turn to enjoy the benefits.

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22 Responses

    1. Thanks, Jonathan. This is a good phase of the cycle now, and I’m enjoying it while it lasts! In the words of one of my favorite songs, Circle Game, “And the seasons they go ’round and ’round/And the painted ponies go up and down/ We’re riding on a carousel of time/ We can’t return we can only look/Behind from where we came/And go ’round and ’round and ’round in the circle game.” Jung did help me emerge, and still is. And the wheel, it keeps on turning in this great adventure. “Forever Jung!”

  1. Full circle – that’s exactly what it felt like reading your latest post, Jean. From mistress to master of the universe. Congratulations on your award, and once again, thanks for letting us peak into your mind. It’s beautiful in there!

    1. What a lovely thought, Lorrie. I assure you, I’m by no means a master of myself, let alone the universe. But I’ve come a long way and I’m enjoying the ride.

  2. Jeanie, what an affirming, confirming and amazing dream to be blessed with by your psyche! You have been faithful to this journey and generous in sharing your learnings and wisdom with the rest of us. Jung must be smiling and enjoying building stone castles in the sky, knowing his work is “catching on” through minds hearts and works such as your own great contributions.
    Thank you for this.

    1. Julie. Yours is one of the most generous spirits I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet on this journey. Though we’ve never crossed paths in person, I feel uplifted by you and very blessed to have shared my time here with you. Thank you. Jeanie

    1. I’m thrilled to hear that, Tom. The synchronicity of this speaks to its relevance to you and the way you’re living your life. I’m assuming you’re referencing the summary statement about trusting and following your passion. If this is so, I suggest you pursue your inner conflict about this issue consciously, accepting the truth of your discomfort and respecting the pulls from both sides without making any premature decisions until you feel strongly that the time is right. Perhaps you’ve already been doing this and the time is now. Perhaps you’re just beginning this process and the time is yet to come. Either way, I’ve found that consciously addressing and tolerating the tension of powerful conflicts sets a process into motion that works beneath our conscious awareness and inevitably presents a resolution when the time is right. Waiting can be extraordinarily painful, but it’s part of the lesson to be learned! My best, Jeanie

  3. Congratulations on the award Jean … having just finished my first reading of your amazing book – Healing the Sacred Divide – I can only say that I am in such awe of the gift you have developed. I was caught from the moment I picked up the work two weeks ago. Your words surely resonate with and rekindle the spiritual seekers dilemma … at times I felt I was caught by holistic sense, and at others by magical nonsense – both of which spoke to me in a way I thought only I had ever experienced, such is my connection to trusting ‘experience’. Your suggestions for contemplation and action after each chapter are pure gold, appearing extremely practical! … I don’t know how it has taken so long to find you so late in my life … perhaps, when the student is ready, the teacher appears … if you forgive the projection, I am already wondering … are you Richard Rohr’s anima … or mine …

  4. Thank you for your really sweet and thoughtful comment, Andi. It gave me so much pleasure. I’m thrilled that you found Healing the Sacred Divide to be fascinating, affirming and practical. Hearing this makes all the years I put into it without feedback more than worth it!
    I do think you’re right about finding the exact teachers you need when you’re ready for them. I’ve experienced this over and over again; most recently, only six months ago. Something about the right teacher just hits you right between the eyes (or in your gut or heart), in a way you can’t ignore. As for whose anima I am, I would say I could be an anima image for anyone who dreams about me in a way that fascinates and captures their attention and curiosity. Funny you should mention Richard Rohr; I just attended an appearance of his for the first time a couple of months ago and was delighted to discover how like-minded we are!!
    Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a grand adventure on your inner journey! Jeanie

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