Individuation: A Journey into One’s Self

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“In general, it [individuation] is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology. ” ~Carl Jung Psychological Types, CW 6, par. 757.

Individuation occurs through active exploration into your inner world as you reflect on your experiences. Your life is not a static, never-changing process and you are not meant to stop growing. You were born with an innate desire to learn. Sharing what you’ve learned lights the way for others. As Jung wrote, “Individuation always means relationship.”

This is why I wroteThe Soul’s Twins. Knowing I have shed a little light on another life is my greatest reward for the time and energy I’ve spent reflecting and writing. So you can imagine how grateful I am for the following review The Soul’s Twins recently received from Dr. Everett J. Tarbox, Professor Emeritus of Humanities and former Chair at Indiana State University. I met E.J. years ago when he was the program director of the Highlands Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought and asked me to present a workshop. He retired to Highlands in 1997 and lives there still.

I’m sharing his observations here to demonstrate what individuation looks like and how it continues through life. Thank you, EJ. And thank you to all who are sharing what you’ve learned from The Soul’s Twins.

Review

“Some years ago my wife Nancy and I participated with approximately ten other couples in a workshop Jean led. At that time she was testing Part I of the Partnership Profile, the self-assessment she shares in Chapter 2 of The Soul’s Twins. I scored 18 out of 20 solar archetypes. My strongest was the King, which Jean now combines with Father. This was no surprise since I had grown up in Texas Panhandle ranch culture that was strongly patriarchal, coupled with my being a university professor. At that time I was proud of my high masculine score, unaware of how much I squelched my feminine side. It was only after Nancy died five years ago that I recognized how much I lived in my head and how much I had repressed my feminine side. When I compared my scores after reading The Soul’s Twins with my earlier score, I was happy to see some improvement.

“Part II which deals with life satisfaction is an important addition, along with Raffa’s observation that there is no ideal score on Part I for everyone. I liked her comment that one’s preferences and life satisfaction have everything to do with how one has lived one’s life “so far.”  Most importantly, she recognized that regardless of which twin I preferred during my early life, as I change and my life situations change, I will change too. As she noted, “Higher life-satisfaction scores ten years from now would mean you’ve been on the right track.”

“In the preface of The Soul’s Twins Jean asserts that when enough people disengage from the paradigm of patriarchy based on separation and domination, space will be created to develop a new paradigm of partnership based on intimate, loving, and reciprocal relationships. This is her goal: the healing of the separation between our soul’s twins, the fundamental archetypes of masculinity and femininity. “A fully lived life requires one to develop both twins.”

“I thought the examples of archetypes drawn from mythology and religions were a significant strength of this book. The stories and examples she used to illustrate how they have appeared in historical figures were very helpful. I especially enjoyed her discussion of John Muir and his rediscovery of Nature. Raffa also underscores our growing awareness of archetypal forces in our changing notions of power. For example, she highlights signs of the Queen archetype’s reawakening in the vigorous discussion and elevation of global consciousness of women’s issues brought about by the successful 2017 and 2018 feminist movements of #MeToo and #Time’s Up. Never in the history of patriarchy have so many powerful males been “dethroned” for sexual assault and harassment in such a brief period of a decade. It would appear that the Queen’s time has come!

“For me personally her discussion of the Sage and the Sage’s shadows were most instructive. As a long-time student of  Socrates and Plato I was pleased to read her discussion of them as sages, as well as my favorite Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Unfortunately, I saw too much of myself in her description of the Sage’s shadow. At best I found myself to be an immature Sage.

“It is in Chapters Eleven and Twelve that Jean’s most mature ideas appear. Chapter Eleven deals with “The Evolution of our Third-Force Archetypes” and Chapter Twelve deals with “The Couple: Spirituality and Creativity of Your Soul’s Twins.” Jean concludes that we have two vocations that require our ego’s full cooperation before our instinct for creativity can help us accomplish our life’s purpose. The first is to create a conscious work of art out of the raw materials of our souls. The second is to make a creative contribution to collective consciousness. We were born to do both things, and nobody else can do them for us. I heartily commend this book!”

“The meaning, the value, the worth, the reason of life is not in what we do, not even in how or why we do it, since all these things are forever changing — but in becoming the experience. ~Fazal Inayat-Khan, The Contradiction of Reality, Old Thinking, New Thinking — The Sufi Prism

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

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Comments

15 Responses

  1. Wow! That’s a great review. And I’m excited to read your book, my adorable dear Jeanie. I am a bit slow to read books, but I have it in my hand, and I will enjoy every word. Stay safe and be well. Sincerely, Aladin.

    1. Thank you, Aladin. I’m so glad you have The Soul’s Twins and look forward to hearing your comments when you’re finished reading it. Wishing you a warm and safe winter, Jeanie

  2. Beautiful and touching. A thorough review, in which a personal process of individuation is shared. Also how the excellent Partnership Profile can be effective in charting inner changes and the deepening of life’s experiences over time.

    And lovely to find Fazal Inayat-Khan quoted here.

    1. It thought the same about EJ’s review. His openness and receptivity to new ideas are especially touching. He’s been a bright light in Highlands, NC’s cultural scene for a long time and is beloved by many. I’m very grateful for his friendship.

      Fazal Inayat-Khan’s quote seemed perfect for this post. Immersing oneself in every facet of life and experiencing one’s own life fully is the whole point of individuation.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Dr Everett J. Tarbox’s review is so lovely Jeanie and charts your book so well, using his personal experience of it. I’m glad he emphasised that we can each add to the collective consciousness of our time. And though ‘duty’ sounds such an onerous word, it doesn’t have to be so, but in some way it is a dutiful thing to do to play our part in the increase of consciousness. Not only for this time, but for future times. Thank you so much! The quote is lovely xx

    1. Thank you, Susan. EJ has written many book reviews in his long career and it shows. He certainly knows how to capture the essence of a book and make it interesting! I’m very honored that he took such care with this one.

      Yes, duty, responsibility….however we think of it, it is incumbent on all who struggle to become more individuated and conscious to share whatever sparks of light we have added to our small flame to clear the path for others. That’s why the classic tarot image of the Wise Old Man shows him carrying a lantern, and why the ancient goddess Hecate of Greek mythology carries two torches, one in each hand, to light the way into the darkness of the unconscious underworld.

      This contrast between light and dark is, in fact, the subject of my next newsletter, which will be published tomorrow, Feb. 17. If you or anyone else reading this haven’t signed up for it yet, you can do so here at the bottom of this blog post or any page on my website. xx

  4. Jeanie, Everett has worked so hard on this review, reading the book twice, and taking twenty-six pages of notes to write his review. I have been in meaningful discussion with him about most of the process. The result is this deeply considered examination of a book for which I personally witnessed such deep impact and personal examination. If all of your readers experience such grace in reading your book, you can be assure of the difference it will make in lives and in the world.

    1. Dear Diane, you and EJ are so lucky to have each other to talk to about philosophical, psychological, and theological ideas like this. How I would love to be in Highlands to discuss them with you. Hopefully we can do it this summer. I’m blown away by his generous spirit and open-minded approach to The Soul’s Twins. It’s an honor to have the blessings of two minds such as yours and his on it.

      Oh my. Twenty-six pages of notes. He didn’t tell me that, but he did say he was talking with you about it. Thank you for letting me know the extent of his commitment both to me and his own self-knowledge. That’s so beautiful. I’m deeply touched by your calling it an experience of grace. May it be so for all who read The Soul’s Twins.

      With love and gratitude, Jeanie

      PS: For those who don’t know Diane McPhail, she is an accomplished artist who earned her doctorate in theology (I’m not sure of the exact name of the degree), and is the author of a book about slavery in the southern U.S. titled The Abolitionist’s Daughter. I highly recommend it.

  5. An excellent review and an inspiration, Jeanie. I have a lot to learn from reading ‘The Soul’s Twins’ a second time and applying it to my inner/outer marriage which is still alive and vital even though my husband died almost 13 years ago. He still appears frequently to play a dream role I must not be living consciously. When I went through the self-assessment, I was surprised by the strong imbalance between feminine and masculine even though I don’t view myself much more feminine than masculine–but that’s what I saw in the assessment and what I need to understand. I will read ‘The Soul’s Twins’ again from the beginning now that I have a book with graphics. I wonder what I’ll learn this time, but I assume a lot. I’ll let you know. I’m sorry to be slow, but that’s the nature of my life now.

    You’re created a remarkable book at a difficult moment in history. I hope vaccines clear the way for more in-person workshops and teachings in your future–and more Zoom teaching. Zoom is here to stay.

    1. Thank you so much, Elaine. As to your question about having more emphasis on the feminine than the masculine at this stage of life, I wondered about that that too at the early stages of developing this tool. The first time I took it I got 18 out of 20 points on the lunar side. Over the past few years it was a little lower because of all the writing and marketing I’ve had to do with this book. But at that time I was developing a powerful preference for my neglected lunar side. As I worked on this with others, I gradually came to understand that the explanation for this phenomenon is about the transformation many of us go through around midlife. From largely emphasizing the masculine (self-preservation) values and qualities during the first half of life: getting an education, finding work, finding a life partner, establishing a safe and secure home and family, to beginning to have a preference for the feminine, species-preservation part of their souls.

      Every hero (masculine potential in every individual) has to strengthen his ego and develop his personal skills to prove himself in the first half of life. In the past, women were denied many of these opportunities and so did not develop this potential, but today many women do while at the same time developing their feminine (species-preservation) sides, especially if they also become mothers. As you can see, I’m not defining feminine and masculine by the same old stereotypical tropes that used to (and unfortunately still do too often) reign supreme in patriarchal cultures. I’m talking about the two fundamental drives of every soul regardless of gender.

      Anyway, once one is secure and the ego is strong enough to open to otherness, the soul often calls people into a new journey: the inner journey of self-discovery, which leads to a far greater awareness of the significance of otherness, which develops one’s ‘feminine’ side. The drive for species preservation is all about forming and nurturing and maintaining relationships with all of life; not only one’s partner and children, but also with nature and the natural processes of life. And you are all about that, Elaine!! With your gardening and cooking nurturing food for others, and hatching your monarch butterflies, and marching to preserve the purity of your lakes and protest social inequality, plus following the seasons, and respecting and loving trees, one could almost say you are Mother Nature personified! I’ll bet you got a very high score for your Queen archetype.

      Of course you have a higher score on the lunar/species-preservation side of the equation now. You already did and still know how to do all that masculine learning and working and driving yourself and pursuing goals stuff. You’ve written your book, studied, made your speeches, led your workshops. You’ve developed those archetypes. Now you’re much more interested in developing your feminine side. And as far as I can see, you’ve become quite successful at it! So it’s not about imbalance at all. It’s more about righting a one-sided imbalance in your early life and now having a preference for bringing MORE balance to your psyche with your deep respect for the feminine side of life.

      Don’t worry about being slow, whatever that means. As you well know, this stage of life is about being less solar-driven and more about following your own path and timeline at this time of your life when you’re relishing just being who you are. I admire that, my friend. It’s what you’re supposed to be doing now. Well done!!

      Much love, Jeanie

  6. Initially, I felt somewhat hesitant to comment on E.J’s wonderful review because, as of yet, I haven’t read Jeanie’s new book (my wife did pre-order a copy via Amazon around its launch date but Amazon UK didn’t have any copies at the time so sadly no extra special Christmas pressie for me), but wow! how inspiring his and many other book reviews of “The Soul’s Twins” are! Huge congratulations to you Jeanie! I hope to catch up with everyone on your new book later in the year as soon as I’ve finished writing new chapters for my Animus Diet book. Love the richness and depth of the beautiful, heartfelt replies here on your blog too! Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Hi Deborah, I’m so sorry you were unable to get my book in the UK. Amazon can be weird that way…. Please see an email I sent you a while ago about a fix for that. 🙂
      Thank you for writing anyway. And thanks for the congratulations. The response the The Soul’s Twins has been wonderful and I’m very grateful. I hope you’re weathering your winter well. I imagine you sipping tea in front of a crackling fire looking out at snow-laden trees and writing a poem about the snow goddess! Love, Jeanie

      1. Oh, it’s been such a funny day. I’m still laughing from our earlier conversations! Thankfully the snow only lasted a week here on the south coast. I say this because living at the bottom of a steep hill covered in snow would’ve made lockdown even more unbearable.

        Yay! Finally, after my three months hibernation, I’m back to writing old school by hand as my computer is broken and sipping many hot chocolates instead of my usual peppermint teas. I can’t wait to start reading “The Soul’s Twins” … not long now! Xxx

  7. I used to love writing in pencil. My favorite part was the eraser, because I do so much revising and like to keep the page scribble free. But computers have spoiled me now. It’s so much faster and easier, but somehow a little less personal. You don’t get to shape the letters your own way and i find that fascinating and fun. Unfortunately, now I can hardly write with pen or pencil without making a mistake because I think so much faster than I can write!!

    Happy sipping and writing,,,and soon reading–The Soul’s Twins! xx

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