Jung and Traditional Healing.
Jung developed his distinctive approach to the study of the human mind during his early years, when he worked in a Swiss hospital with mentally ill patients. His attempts at trying to uncover the dynamics involved in mental illness caused him to take a close look at those mysterious aspects of the mind that are not normally accessible to conscious awareness, namely the unconscious. The insights he gained fascinated him and he decided to devote his life to the exploration of the human mind. Jung did not see the approach to his research in the same light as many modern psychologists and psychiatrists, as he considered that a purely scientific approach was unlikely to facilitate a clear understanding of the human psyche. He decided to follow an empirical investigation that included the world of dream, myth, and folklore.
Interestingly, recent research into the functions of the brain have found correlations between its physical structure and Jung's divisions of the mind.
On the World Tree the pre-conscious is represented by the four worlds that lie north, south, east and west; semi-material worlds that at times appear at the periphery of our consciousness.
The personal unconscious is a powerful and probably the more active part of the human mind. Healthy mental function is dependent on the appropriate communication between the conscious and the unconscious parts of the mind. The unconscious is normally not accessible in a conscious sense, so its contents remains mainly hidden to the individual. In this context dreams play an important diagnostic role as these often represent the surfacing of parts of the unconscious.
The collective unconscious
The collective unconscious contains all the mental information that is hard-wired into our brains, that we bring into the world when we are born. This information is shared by all humans and enables us to deal with basic issues such as what it means to be human, our sense of being alive, what life means to us, our perception of death, our happiness, our fears and many other foundation aspects of our being. In general the collective unconscious is also the source of our more spiritual concepts.
This collective unconscious is represented on the World Tree by the worlds that lie above and below the center world of consciousness. The darker instinctive worlds lie below and the lighter and brighter and more "perfected" worlds lie above our center world.
Archetypes represent unconscious inborn ideas or concepts of the psyche that direct the interpretation of the world around us, and especially our relationship with other human beings. A complex arises when one archetype becomes dominant; this may be appropriate or inappropriate depending on the level of development of the individual. For example a strong focus on the "mother" archetype is normal for a small child, but becomes abnormal later in life when it becomes a mother complex .
The archetypes, which include the shadow and the anima/animus are usually not considered directly in the world view of Traditional Healing and are therefore a special part of Jungian psychology. Nevertheless the archetypes may be seen to be represented by the "leaves" of the World Tree, as these also represent our inner link with the natural world.
The shadow is an unconscious archetype with a special significance, insofar that there are constructive and destructive aspects to the shadow; it provides the counterbalance to what we consider ourselves to be. For example, someone who considers themselves to be kind and good natured, has a shadow that is harsh or unkind; while conversely, someone who is brutal has a kind shadow. This counterpart also exists for all the other qualities we believe we posses. The shadow often manifest in dreams as one or more dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer.
The anima and the animus
The anima and animus are also unconscious archetypes that provide
the counterbalance to what we are; in this case to the expression
of gender. The anima is the unconscious feminine component of men,
while the animus is the unconscious masculine component
of women. The anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious
We all have an innate need for self-realization, that is the
"meaning of life", which involves a sense of "fitting in", of
knowing what we "are about" and what our "role and purpose in
life" is. This innate need leads people to explore and integrate
their "rejected" archetypes by the natural process of
becoming an individual through mental and emotional maturation; a
process that is called individuation.
Many Traditional Healers, especially those in the West, have foundation training in Jungian psychology and use this as an integral part of their treatment approaches. Thus the ways of the wizard are not in the past and hardly lost, but provide us with the important insight that the most powerful form of healing must not only take place on a physical level, but must also incorporate the mind and the spirit.
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