The Unseen Partner


51JQhuqU2cL._SY401_BO1,204,203,200_“The time is ripe for the unconscious and conscious dominants to meet each other.  The death of the old dominant is indicated by the fact that the king is about to die.  This corresponds to the fact that the God-image, the collective dominant of the Western psyche, is moribund.  In preparation for its death, it opens up an ancient tomb;  in other words it opens up the unconscious.  This activates the feminine principle, which had been dead and buried in the very same tomb, in the unconscious.  As the tomb is opened, the unconscious is penetrated by consciousness . . . and a revitalization occurs.” ~ Edward Edinger

With this opening quote a beautiful new book, The Unseen Partner: Love & Longing in the Unconscious, prepares the reader for a unique experience of a universal story: the hero’s journey to individuation. Unique, because this personal account shared in a mythical, poetic voice is utterly original and will impact each reader differently. Universal, because beneath the art, poetry, and expertly-crafted prose is the mythic story of Everyman. Two decades in the making and released this Labor Day weekend, Diane Croft’s The Unseen Partner is a most refreshing and artful contribution to the literature on Jungian psychology.  I absolutely loved it!

By midlife, Croft had taken a predictable path to a comfortable life and successful career. Educated at Wittenberg and Harvard Universities, she became a publisher at National Braille Press. And then an unknown force invaded her conscious psyche and set her on a new path. As her press release notes, this force pulled her “into an energy field—the sacred temple at the center of the psyche—” (called the “Self” by Jung), where she captured the poetic voice she heard by means of automatic writing.

Croft explains:

“In the summer of 1996, I fell into an experience of automatic writing.  I was seated at my computer getting ready to compose a budget narrative.  Instead I wrote a few lines of verse that appeared without thinking or intention.  ‘Born in a cataclysm of cosmic violence/the lunar birth of daughter moon.’ And then a second poetry fragment appeared . . . and so it continued for three years, at roughly the same time each morning, until there were more than seven hundred odd verses.  People ask me if I heard voices.  No, I say, I just took dictation. The fingers moved and the words were typed.”

The Unseen Partner is based on 55 of these verses. Each is accompanied by an artful image that symbolizes an aspect of the individuation process. Croft’s commentary on the meaning she gleaned from the poetry and imagery is the third factor that weaves everything together into a remarkable book which is itself a creative work of art.

Here’s an example. This poem titled “Holy Ghost” features the symbolism of “the third.”  The accompanying image and commentary illustrate how these three factors work together.

Who is this three of thee and me

a holy ghost in daylight calling

stirring in my bed this night

cauldron for my troubled soul,

reminding me again and again

of the living power it holds

over my dominion.

Croft’s commentary:

Unknown“Since I was baptized Lutheran, the image of the Holy Ghost was not foreign to me, though I understood nothing of its meaning.  Since I now believe this collection is about the relationship between my conscious ego and the larger archetypal Self, then I can only say that that relationship involves a third.  Who is this three of thee and me?  In Mythology of the Soul, Baynes writes, ‘The number three is specifically associated with the creative process. . . . Every function of energy in nature has, indeed, the form of a pair of opposites, united by a third factor, their product.’ Jung identified “the third” as one of the stages of individuation: ‘The advance to the third stage means something like the recognition of the unconscious, if not actual subordination to it. . . .’  So, as I understand it, stage one equals the original state of wholeness (the pre-conscious totality), stage two represents separation and the emergence of opposites (ego consciousness), and stage three would be the union of the opposites through the agency of the Holy Ghost, now contained within the human vessel.”

This was particularly resonant to me. I don’t remember ever reading this quote by Jung before, but in Healing the Sacred Divide (2012), I used the symbolism of “the third” to illustrate the three epochs of the development of consciousness. Each of my epochs corresponds with Croft’s description of the stages of individuation. This synchronicity comes as no real surprise, for “the third,” like all the symbols treated in this marvelous book, represents an archetypal pattern residing in every psyche. Nonetheless, I had so many delicious “Aha” moments in reading it that the overall experience took on the flavor of meditating on, and with, a sacred unseen partner.

As Rumi warned, (and as Croft writes in the last line of her epilogue), “‘Don’t go back to sleep.’ Wake up and dip your cup into the living waters.”  I could not recommend The Unseen Partner more highly, and I’ll be returning to it again and again, for in it I recognize a reliable companion and guide to the living waters within me.

The Unseen Partner can be found at Amazon

Image Credits:  Book cover, Amazon.  “Friendship,” 1907, Mikalojus Konstantinos Ciurlionis, Lithuania, Wikimedia Commons.

Jean’s newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are also at Amazon as well as KoboBarnes And Noble, and Smashwords.


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23 Responses

  1. I was following Jungian Art Therapy several years ago, but didn’t complete the program. It influenced much in my life. This book also reminds me of a Ken Wilbur book, of which I can’t recall the title. Thank you for this book review.

    1. You’re welcome. I expect you know that Jung had much to say about the therapeutic value of creative endeavors and was, in fact, a living testament to their worth. While he insisted that the mandalas he painted for The Red Book were not art, many would disagree with him. I suppose it depends on how you define art and what your goal is. If art is an original expression of your soul’s unique ‘daimon’ or creative genius, and if your goal is healing and wholeness, I would say his paintings were art of the highest form.

  2. Wonderful review Jean, thanks – I have just added this to the top of my must read list. I think you and the author are touching into and expounding for us some very deep and transformational understandings of how creativity is part of all life and even part of so called illness and breakdown – as well as these more obviously creative outcomes like poetry and other artistic expressions. For those who tend more towards a psychotic and therefore potentially scary type of eruption, I do still believe that RD Laing was right when he said that more often than not, breakdown leads to breakthrough. I’m guessing that for some of us at least some of the time the encounter of opposites is painful, even frightening, and I believe this is why creative arts therapies are so good at helping people negotiate transitions because they channel the energy and give an outlet to the unconscious material that is demanding to be heard. Knowing that the same process fuels poetry and art helps people reframe their experience and embrace it, so thanks again for such an amazing lead, which as always Jeanie finds me at the very time I need it ?

  3. It’s lovely to hear from you, Roberta. I know you, of all people, will appreciate this book.Thank you also for clarifying why creative art therapies are so valuable: “because they channel the energy and give an outlet to the unconscious material that is demanding to be heard.” Yes, an encounter of opposites creates enormous energy—one analogy is the interaction between the North and South Poles which generates Earth’s magnetic field. Few, if any egos have the strength to tolerate this kind of tension without an outlet of some sort, and the creative arts provide the perfect solution. Like Croft, I learned this lesson well when I started writing poetry in the summer of 1982 and was shocked to realize how much comfort it brought. The value wasn’t in the poems I produced, but in the process—part of it was the profoundly satisfying emotional involvement in creating a “third” something new from the messy internal conflict I was experiencing, and part was the clarity and hope and trust that came from knowing there were things I could do that would provide relief. Thank you for your insightful comment.

  4. Brilliant, Jeanie…your words are masterful and so yummy. Makes me want to run out and get the book !! 🙂

  5. Jean, what a wonderful launch of THE UNSEEN PARTNER – reading your generous, insightful review and the comments that followed. For so many years I carried this awakening within, finding it nearly impossible to write about. Only the poetry and images gave me access to the “gnosis” that broke through. We know others are having these experiences – Jean, you being one – related to the evolution of consciousness – both personally and collectively. The more we share our experiences, the more conscious we will become of the new mythic vision – ‘the child.’ As Jung said, “Nothing in the psyche is ever lost,” only forgotten. Many thanks to all who commented, and especially to you, Jean.

    1. You’re most welcome, Diane. I’m pleased to give this book my full endorsement. It’s very special.
      I know what you mean about carrying this awakening within. For ten years I also found it impossible to write about, (except very obliquely in poems written for no one else but me) let alone talk about. Although there were sparks of “the new mythic vision” showing up in a variety of places during the 80’s and 90’s, most of them were small pockets of “fringe” seekers, far from the mainstream. Moreover, the experience is so baffling and painful that one is extremely vulnerable….”What if everyone thinks I’m crazy? What if I AM crazy? Better to tell no one!” And then, of course, this is a solitary journey by nature, with no one to guide us but the “unseen partner” within; and it takes a very long time to learn to trust an entity that’s rising from a tomb in which it’s been “dead and buried” for thousands of years!!
      Thank goodness for Carl Jung and those who carried his work forward. I’ll be forever indebted to them all.
      Blessings to you, Diane, and best of luck with your beautiful new child.

  6. Thank you Jeanie for this – the title says so much already! It sounds like a wonderful book. Diane’s strong voice is added to the emerging feminine micro and macro consciousness. The wheel really does seem to be turning and the tomb opening and at long last the feminine principle is pricked and awakened to begin it’s ascent, as Edinger says. I wish her well in the release of her book.

    1. And thank you for adding your voice to the emerging feminine micro and macro consciousness with your wonderful book, In Praise of Lilith, Eve & The Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories. For those who’d like to check it out, here’s the link:
      Yes, as the feminine principle has been awakened in women like Croft, you, and me, so too do I see it ascending into collective awareness. Fully aware of the potential world crises we are rapidly approaching, I am no pollyanna, but this undeniable reality gives me hope for our world and future generations.

  7. Jeannie thank you so much for your reply! My heart did a little turn and felt fuller thank you so so much! That is so kind to provide the link to my book. I want to return your kindness and get your book ‘Healing the Sacred Divide’ – I’ve looked on and I note it is not available as an ebook? Can I double check that with you? If not available I’ll order it. IF you’ve read my book and ‘liked’ it would you consider putting up a review? I would be very grateful. It’s a big ask I know …
    A friend who’s just returned from Japan wrote me that the tsunami that followed the earthquake in Japan 5 years ago has never been forgotten and that every building shows the height of it, at airports, hospitals, roads. She found Japan to be a very ‘collective place’ and I thought that this was admirable indeed in this instance. It’s a recognition not to be denied is what I gleaned from her email …
    Thank you again Jeannie 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. You’re most welcome, Suan. My passion is to facilitate the rebirth and empowerment of the feminine principle in myself, men, women and societies throughout the world. To that end I enjoy connecting like- and open-minded people with quality resources that serve this aim. Diane Croft’s book is one of these; yours is another. I have it on Kindle and will be happy to revisit it and write a review for Amazon. Perhaps you might do the same for Healing the Sacred Divide? I’m sorry it’s not in e-book form yet. I suspect that will come in time. If it does, I’ll be sure to notify readers here. However, if you would send me an e-mail with your address, I’d be very happy to mail you a copy. I’m at
      I’ve heard that about Japan. The sense of one-ness, unity, caring, and shared purpose serves the feminine principle very well, indeed. Certainly, your friend’s description is an example of it. I’ve often wondered how that works out in the daily life of their culture. What I mean is that if we look at the opposites of individual and group, or personal and collective, is there any society on Earth today that has successfully managed to integrate both poles such that both are respected in a reciprocal relationship? Practically speaking, how does Japan handle the tension between individual choice and group solidarity? It seems to me that the U.S. and much of the West struggles with the same problem from the opposite perspective, with our primary emphasis on individuality (masculine principle). Both poles have their unhealthy extremes, and integrating the two in a healthy way seems to be the major psycho/social task of our time. Our upcoming election is a perfect example of one nation’s attempt to raise collective consciousness of the value of, and cooperation between, both poles. It will be fascinating to see the outcome.
      Thanks for writing, Susan

      1. Jeannie, thank you. That is so kind to offer to send me a copy of The Sacred Divide. I promptly went to on receiving your reply to check it out myself and made a right royal mess. The one order from a source listed under would have cost an arm and a leg to ship (4 tines the cost of your book), so I promptly cancelled that and thankfully that’s been recorded. When I tried again to order directly from amazon again, I was reminded that this was a duplicate order. I looked again at a local source and this may be the route I will go. But I will do this in the morning and probably order from directly. It seems as if I qualify for free shipping. I am sure the log jam caused by my shopping/messing around on will then be cleared!
        Yes, it’s interesting to see the collision between the emerging and already emerged and we can only hope that this lessens and that integration – and response-ibility – between the masculine and feminine becomes a reality. I’m hopeful that what’s happening in our country and its inevitable collision course between the governing and opposition parties will reveal the hope that is here, still vibrant and alive. Interestingly, more women are speaking out, so clearly.
        Thank you Jeannie for all who you are.

        1. And thank you for who you are. I, too have observed and love the fact that more women are speaking out so clearly. In fact, our discussion here in the comments section has given me the ‘hook’ I’ve been looking for to write about our coming election! I’m sorry about the log jam you ran up against. If you change you mind about me sending you a copy, let me know. 🙂

  8. My understanding of Jung includes the third as the unifying idea in the opposites. We hold the tension until the third arises. I also know your use of the third in discussing the Epochs. I didn’t know that particular Jung quote either. Diane Croft’s received poem is beautiful. Her book looks terrific. Thanks for recommending it.

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