Jenna Lilla limns the path of soul in the work of Carl Jung
The name of this blog is the Jungian. The suffix ‘-ian’ on Jung, modifies a name to express belonging to, coming from Jung’s view. I am using the name the Jungian to express the idea that I am coming from the perspective offered within Carl Jung’s work. My passion and interest concerns articulating a Jungian viewpoint grounded in a reverence for the soul and the soul’s imagination.
I believe that the soul is the aspect of our being that is most fundamentally sound within us. Meister Eckhart said that the “soul is an image of God” (cited in Jung, CW 5 para. 424). In archetypal terms the soul holds an “intermediate position” (CW5, para. 425) between the conscious and unconscious. The soul may be seen as the mediatrix between the ego and an immanent divinity, and imagination as their communion.
The field of psychology has a long history of pathologizing the soul. If you are interested in understanding how psychology pathologizes the soul please see the second essay in James Hillman’s Myth of Analysis. Or you can also read my essay on the origin and history of soul.
In my view, it is the relationship that the ego has toward the soul that may become pathological, but the soul is never sick or pathological. In archetypal terms the soul is the part of us that is most aligned with the divine, and in this position the soul leads us in our spiritual growth and development. With this in mind, I hope to reclaim the soul from its poor favor, and show its true value and gift.
While I achieved a doctorate in psychology, I am not currently professionally involved with the field of mental health. I also hold a masters in rhetoric and communication, as well as board certification as a coach. I am probably more aligned with the coaching framework than the psychological paradigm. The reason being, the coaching paradigm offers an alternative viewpoint to psychology in which people are seen as fundamentally happy, healthy and whole. There is no need for a ‘cure’ in the coaching paradigm, because there is no inherent pathology. Thus, coaching normalizes human emotion, and orients the framework toward growth and development. Such ideals are aligned with my views on the human soul.
On this blog, I am currently reading and writing on Carl Jung’s Symbols of Transformation. The aim of this reading is to interpret the text from the soul’s perspective. An understanding of the soul is our opus– our dedication, our creative work. And Carl Jung is our guide. There are, broadly speaking, two levels to Jung’s writing: one manifest and the other latent. The manifest level is ego oriented: it looks upon the soul from afar, pathologizing it. The latent level of the text expresses the voice of the soul– the images, forms, relations of the soul. I am reading Jung’s work to articulate the latent level of the text.
Carl Jung dedicated his life to exploring the soul, creating a difficult to understand and complex ontology of the soul. By working with Jung’s ontology and also moving beyond its limitations, I hope to create a new frame of reference in which the soul is discovered as the root, seed, or ground of all that is good, possible, and potential within us.
In order to do this, I believe that I must leave behind my professional affiliation with psychology for now. The reason for this is that I want to be clear to my readers about my role. It would be too easy for readers to think that I, in some way, represent the field of psychology or a psychological reading of Carl Jung unless I am explicit as to where I am coming from. The problem is that even an explicit statement that this is a spiritual reading of Carl Jung may still leave some ambiguity given that Jung’s work is spiritual in nature. So I feel that I must not only talk about the reading but also my role, stating explicitly that I am writing as a spiritual teacher and not as a psychologist, counselor, or any type of adviser.
The role of a spiritual teacher is to transmit knowledge or understanding of ones pre-existing or eternal nature. What is important here is that I am not speaking about what is healthy versus not healthy, but instead I am writing about Carl Jung’s work to elucidate what is essential, eternal, and naturally present within each individual. Such goodness is represented by the archetypal image of the soul.
This means that we are not reading Jung’s texts in order to make judgments about psychological health and well-being, or even to develop new conceptualizations about the psyche. Instead, this is a radical reading of Carl Jung’s work in which we are basically turning the viewpoint upside down. In Jung’s work there are two points of awareness within the psychic field: the ego and the soul. Psychology gives the preeminent position to the ego’s awareness, while spirituality gives the preeminent position to the soul’s awareness. Instead of reading from a psychological perspective in which the ego peers down upon the soul, I am reading from perspective of the soul peering up at the ego. This can only be considered a spiritual teaching, because it will fundamentally forefront the eternal dimensions of being as what is real and enduring, while showing that the ego’s desire is temporal and ephemeral.
If you have psychological problems and are looking for psychological answers please do not look to this blog for answers. Instead, you might consider seeking out a qualified mental health representative. I cannot simultaneously address both the psychological and a spiritual perspective. They are fundamentally at odds with each other. Psychology is grounded in the temporal and finite dimensions of being, and aims at ego adaptation and necessity. Spirituality is grounded in the eternal and infinite, and aims at adapting life to soul’s freedom and truth.
Carl Jung’s work, in the end, is a conjunction of ego and soul. Such a conjunction is a private affair and up to each individual to create for themselves. What I offer is the soul’s path to such a conjunction: beginning first with the soul, and then moving towards integration with the ego. I live my life from the soul, my spiritual imagination rules my understanding. My ego exists only to serves my souls needs. It is from this place that I offer my labor and efforts– in service of the soul.