Reading Jung: Symbols of Transformation

Carl Jung’s Volume 5 titled Symbols of Transformation (SoT) is one of Jung’s more difficult texts to read and understand. Many years after writing the text, Jung looked back and said:

“I have never felt happy about this book… It was written at top speed… There was no opportunity to let my thoughts mature. The whole thing came to me like a landslide that could not be stopped. The urgency that lay behind it became clear to me only later: it was an explosion of all those psychic contents which could find no room, no breathing-space, in the constricting atmosphere of Freudian psychology.” (Forward to 4th Edition of CW 5)

Here, Jung is speaking of a surge of energy that took place as he took freedom from Freud and “reductive causalism”: an “outmoded rationalism and scientific materialism of the nineteenth century” (p. xxiii, Forward to the Fourth Edition CW 5)

Jung’s act of freedom was written in a fury. He acted on a deep urge to “understand the unconscious as an objective and collective psyche.” And the result, this text, is no ordinary text. It was an explosion of creative thought, the result of which was what he called: “fragments [strung] together in an unsatisfying manner.”

This explosion of new ideas is nonetheless unified by Jung’s fidelity to truth. It is an honest struggle with the difficulty inherent in this deepest of human concerns. Jung’s heroic striving after truth is an illustration of the very principle he seeks to elucidate.  And ironically, this too was Freud’s struggle: to understand “instinctual dynamism.”

Something so antithetical would be hampered by premature unification, as we will see in our reading of Jung’s text. The deep instinctual urges of which Jung speaks are complex. On the one hand they are they are mystical: a life energy which seeks love and union, both human and divine. On the other hand they become the strife, antagonism, even splitting and fragmentation within. There is no unification here, except insofar as we stay true to an entire movement.

Jung kept fidelity to Freud’s “instinctual dynamism.” He followed it to its logical conclusion; and, therefore, he had to move beyond materialism into the religious. It is with this shift that we encounter the most difficult and challenging demand of SOT: a demand to enter into the religious dimensions of psychic life.

To meet this demand, we will have to give up our sole devotion to the “reality principle.” (Freud’s guiding principle: “the ability of the mind to assess the reality of the external world, and to act upon it accordingly”). We have to risk entering into the liminal realms world of dreams, fantasy, imagination. We have to read this text with a kind of religious-analytic eye, a relational eye: seeking the deep principles and truths — the instinctual dynamism– which draws forth the development of psychic life.

A working thesis for our reading might read:

The root of the word Religion is Religio meaning to reunite, reconnect. Religious symbolism expresses relational dynamics, representing the deepest aim and instinct of the psychic life: to unite, reconnect.

Such a thesis might serve as a decent summary of what a religious analysis would most need to honor and respect. To be faithful to this– to read with an eye to and respect for the deep instincts present in our religion– may be the key that opens new, fresh interpretation of Jung’s work. That is my gambit.

Religion, in its radical relationality, is an expression of our deepest instinct for the Other. Only through a respect for the relational instinct of the psyche can we elucidate the aims and diversions of libido, in its primitive and sublimated forms.

The basic premises of a religious analysis might be that there is an instinctual dynamism, a libidinal urge, that seeks the Other. This urge weaves through all aspects of our internal and external relatedness. Relatedness, or the urge for it, underlies our everyday interactions with each Other.

Our relatedness to that which is both wholly and holy Other forms the sacred aims of psychic life. Our relatedness to each Other weaves humanity together. Our relatedness to the manifold beings of the earth comprises our world. Some have realized that there is even a relatedness within the Self: a seeking of the Self, that is the becoming of a Self within this world– of Self and Others.

Religious analysis might seek to suss out and follow the deep logic of our seeking, of our relatedness. On the one hand we are multiple, a world of Selves and Others. And on the other, there is a unity, a shared essence. These two poles of being form a cosmic psycho-dynamic, the pulsation of being and becoming.

Working with such psycho-spiritual-dynamics might lead us to an understanding of the most subtle forms of spitting and integration: we are One and many; we are capable of knowing ourselves individually and collectively; we seek an Other and in the end find that they are, in essence, so very very close to our own Self. This is the Coniunctio Oppositorium of psychic life.

If intuited and reconciled, then such oppositions and unifications become the systole and diastole of mind– expressing primal pulsation of the Self. This is is an spiritual understanding that Jung’s work almost achieved. And even if not explicit in his work, it is found in the subtle language of art, of his dreams, expressed in his vague notions of ‘Self-realization.’

One way to read Jung is to offer a religious analysis of Jung. To look upon Carl Jung, the man, as a human being dreaming forth the path toward Self-realization, showing us the relational dynamics of Self-realization. On the one hand Carl Jung is a man ‘almost Self-realized.’ On the other hand he is a psychoanalyst, a healer of the human soul. This dual perspective gives Jung a unique preview into the religious dimensions of psychic life: one that is relational, instinctual, spiritual; one that seeks unification of the opposites; one that, subtly, plays with the dynamics of subject and object, Self and Other.

But, to really read Jung, we will have to go beyond Jung. Jung either never achieved, or never spoke from the place of, full Self-realization. Everything in his work hinted at this, everything aimed toward it. It is like speaking of the sun. We can study all the aspects, and placements, and concepts, and myths of the sun. We can know so-very-much about the sun. But, can we realize the sun within our own hearts– the Sun beyond sun which lights our inner world?

It is one task to describe the sun as an object of awareness. It is another task entirely, to realize the inner Sun as the light of awareness. Jung showed us the sun that is both inner and outer.  Jung showed us the path toward the inner Sun. Jung showed us that the sun is a light: a light that may guide our way, even if there is no sun at all.  It is another task entirely to realize that light as the light of one’s own awareness. It is this light of awareness that I seek to know.

From a place of awareness, we may re-think the archetypes in relation to the Self. From awareness, we may re-think the instincts and libido as the energy of the Self. From awareness, we may better understand the true nature of all object relations, of all seeking, and longing, and love– as a cosmic pulsation, the cosmic play of awareness.


Carl Jung, CW 5, Symbols of Transformation (1956)– a revision of (1912) Psychology of the Unconscious.

Note: this post was updated from its original version on 11/6/2015.


39 thoughts on “Reading Jung: Symbols of Transformation

  1. As we were leaving a recent production of Shakespeare’s “Measure For Measure,” I overheard a fellow attendee say to her companion that this was one of his [Shakespeare’s] problem plays, meaning (I assume) that he had not been able to bring his abilities to bear on the elements of the play to tie them up neatly and satisfactorily by the play’s end. I had heard this comment before about Measure For Measure, and after just having watched the play I could kind of see what this theater-goer and other commentators where saying about the play, but also after my having spent a good portion of my life searching for the truth about our being and the last couple years trying to understand Jung’s psychology my immediate reaction to this theater-goer’s comment was …this is a problem life.

    Shakespeare may or may not have been able to tie up all the loose ends of his play (measure for measure) or he may have consciously choose to dramatize our inability to measure and counter-measure all the vicissitudes of life and weigh justly and accurately reward and punishment, morality and immorality, and good and evil as easily as one might for a morality play written for a family rated audience.

    We are groping our way through life, not really knowing who or what we are, where we’ve been or where we are going. Taking our knocks along the way, we make progress by taking a few steps forward, stabbing at an evaluation of those steps, rinsing and then repeating. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment, for bringing up the idea of what can be measured and what cannot. It has been on my mind. Heinrich Heine’s poem comes to mind:

      ‘With his nightcaps and the tatters of his dressing-gown he patches up the gaps in the structure of the universe.’

      It is human nature to reach for the stitching needle, grasping at the loose ends, stitching up the structures of the universe. While such tasks have their role, there is a negative status to all wisdom. While knowledge may be created through an understanding of structure, wisdom may be realized through our capacity to be with the gaps and empty spaces. Sophia is the archetype of such Wisdom, the Greek root of Sophia Σοφíα meaning “wisdom.” She sits at “the gates of the mighty,” as a representative of the eternal. She marks the places and spaces where the mundane mind may not travel. Sophia arrives when we are ready to let loose the stitching needle and enter into gaps in the structure of the universe.

      If Sophia, as wisdom, may be seen at the threshold to the eternal, then the archetypes appear to be guides on the path.
      The archetypes lead us on a path toward the eternal, helping us release the hand holds and let down the stitching needles.

      1. I will be reading from the beginning of “Symbols of Transformation” then, engaging in active imagination and hopefully sharing dreams as we embark on this adventurous project.If this is indeed “the heart of the path of the Soul” – I hope that we have as qualified a guide as Jung had in Philemon. Or perhaps it won’t get as intense 😉

        1. Wonderful Gary! I hope you found the free version of Symbols of Transformation online. If not, let me know and I will find the link for you. It is the first version- 1912. I will be working with the fourth version to incorporate his revisions. If you have the book that is great too.

          I look forward to co-dreaming and co-guiding. I am just the writer: my readers are my guides, as well as Jung.

          1. I have the kindle version from public domain, but a book version would probably complement our working relationship. Jenna, this season I am truly thankful for your generosity of time, allowing us to participate in the shared work of personal spiritual growth. I’m thankful for your humility and for your magnificence of spirit. It continues to be great creative adventure.

  2. This definitely sounds inviting & exciting Jenna…an ”Instinctually dynamic” reading of Jung!And if he was among us now I’m sure he’d wholeheartedly agree.You’ve chosen to explore the psychic libidinal explosion of Volume 5 with the most sensible tools and a most passionate attitude.This sure won’t be stale theoretical cardboard.Applause…and you’re just warming-up.

  3. And the libidinal urge that seeks the other reminds me of the necessity of sacrifice that is such an important part of individuation, of the religious path that each of our lives can be.

    1. very much so…I totally agree, Paul & Jenna…it boils down to one’s own masculine and feminine energies to be burnt by the fire of individuation and re-unite as one for wholeness and completion of Being!

  4. Connection is a two-way traffic, which encompases the interior and exterior together with the above and below…leaving no stone unturned to be able to travel and communicate to and from the Unknown, however we may call it! In the West, after the exclusion of the Collective Unconscious from the everyday talk by the rigid approach and certainly a very paternalistic control and discipline, the energy built due to this process was held by the dam of rationality and good behaviour…i.e: no spilling, no over-doing, no trespassing of the unconscious matter over the social masks and composed habits entertained and adopted as sacrosanct were not to be deflowered by any means, why the energy were held boiling in the arena of some considered as heretics and certainly in the psychiatric jargon, spellbound and imprisoned in the mental delirium and agony of being the chosen one of the devils…Comparatively, in the Eastern traditions, with the wisdom of the Ancients/Wise/Chiefs/Shamans/Mystics, this whole domain were
    taught in minimal homeopahic doses, in the direct oral one-to-one sessions, practiced since eons upto now, keep things “religiously” and socially balanced, not accepting things openly because this is a “mysterious matter of the unknown, therefore, to be dealt by those who are versed and familiar with , more often tested and qualified as such by their respective clans and communities, with caution and all due respect because “the Gods of the Underworld” are speaking….

    These matters had their sense of being sacred and treated as such with an emergency as well as with a matter of factly way so as not to spill the great facts and findings of the psyche to the ignorant in an alarming way but to a relatively few, who took matters seriously by sacrificing their personal lives at the detriment of the community, clan, tribe or whatever the group was comprised of. These “chosen” ones gave their “egoic” lives up in order to be of service ot the Collective Unconscious and acted as such in matters of mystery by performing codes, rituals, practices that do shock most in the West due to lack of connection or the need to ‘reunite or reconnect’ to those parts which do come up in due time and appropriate circumstances, whether expected or not, invited or not, in order to help humanity up the ladder of growth, in both psychological and religious dimensions, enhancing the daily vocabulary of instruments of communication such as language, new symbols in the arts, literature and musical expressions with a richness in poetry, melody and beauty under the very eyes of the Gods of both Heaven & Underworld….

    Thank You for jumping willingly in the unknown territories of the yet to be known and sharing!


    1. Brinda,

      You have the voice of a pythia, making it clear to me that your creativity stems from the deep chasms of being. I am blessed that you have found your way to this little corner of the universe. I will take your words as an oracle: reminding us all that even if the majority resists our voice, we who commune with the Unknown must speak nonetheless.

      It is to this very point that I will be speaking next.

  5. We are genuinely getting some authentic binding and reuniting with soul depth in your blog Jenna. It’s creative and inclusive and artistic. The “instinctual dynamism” of the “sublimated and primitive libido” “limning the path” into the Eros and Thanatos/Chaos of the Collective Unconscious will be quite the journey for all of us who are involved in following your blog and doing our own personal work of soul making. It’s not for the timid or fearful, but I am also reminded of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread. Still, I opt for foolishness over “all is well” naivety. I hope the courage/heartiness/spiritedness/thymos of the pilgrims is up to the task. Onward Captain Lilla

    1. Gary,
      Today, as I am working on Jung, I am holding you and my other readers in my mind. I like to think of others as I write. It helps me to form an internal conversation, giving my thought perspective and depth. I am happy you are one of those readers. You are quite an interesting being. In one of your comments you described yourself in terms of: “reformed evangelical born again Christianity and extreme negative empirical skepticism… existential nihilism and absurdity.” While it is easy and comforting to hold my more mystical readers in my mind, it challenges me to be able to integrate a more complex perspective. Thanks for being here, and inspiring me.

      1. I too hope to be inspired by our dialogue. I hope my unique approach to religion as both absurd and meaningful with depth psychology providing some sort of balancing point between extremes … I hope my approach as I read Jung can inspire your work in a small way. Life’s an interesting journey, made more so by that intimate dance of great dialectics.

          1. I think of the symbol for infinity as being that of the individual dancing the up and down, the back and forth, between Truth and Untruth, between Eros and Chaos. I like the dance more than the certainty and stability and the security of Being or Becoming firmly in the camp of Truth and EROS. If that’s insane, I guess psychological health isn’t so infatuating to me. Maybe I’ll be more in love with healthiness when I’m suffering old age dementia. 😉

            1. Well, I cannot speak to the questions of insanity, for I am far from an expert on such matters. But I can speak to mysticism, and what you have said also speaks to such ideas. The word mysticism comes from the Greek μυω, meaning ‘hidden.’ When we open to the mystical truths, we move beyond the known into the unknown or ‘hidden.’

              As for old age… If we are suffering from dementia then we will not be able to contemplate such wondrous things, so let us enjoy this wondrous moment as it presents itself now.

            2. I do not mean “insanity” in a clinical sense but more in the sense of pathological. Or maybe I mean “insanity” as social norms which drive the soul into untruth.

              “The vanity of existence is revealed in the whole form existence assumes: in the infiniteness of time and space contrasted with the finiteness of the individual in both; in the fleeting present as the sole form in which actuality exists; in the contingency and relativity of all things; in continual becoming without being; in continual desire without satisfaction; in the continual frustration of striving of which life consists.”
              — Arthur Schopenhauer, “On The Vanity Of Existence”

              “There is little conjunction of truth and social ‘reality’. Around us are pseudo-events, to which we adjust with a false consciousness adapted to see these events as true and real, and even as beautiful. In the society of men the truth resides now less in what things are than in what they are not. Our social realities are so ugly if seen in the light of exiled truth, and beauty is almost no longer possible if it is not a lie.”
              — R.D. Laing, The Politics Of Experience

              But even pathology means the logos of pathos. So even asking “Why is there suffering?” is a form of pathology, no? How does suffering and relative evil and absolute evil fit in with the mystery of godliness, divine providence and Divine Sovereignty? That’s mysticism, no? Why are God’s thoughts and purposes hidden and too high and noble for puny and finite human minds to conceive? Why does God put up with how alienated we are from the numinous? One answer might be for the purposes of discerning faith and non-hubristic soul work. It’s pretty hidden to me. But that doesn’t diminish the quest for truth. The quest delves into the deep unconsciousness, hence my love for Jung’s pioneering work. Blessings.

  6. Once again, I am very impressed by the immensity of this project. Elucidating a path beyond the measured is both essential and full of uncertainty and darkness. I am afraid my first post in which I mentioned the theme of sacrifice was too unconnected to what you’d written about. What came to mind was what Jung writes about, i.e. the theme of sacrifice, near the end of Symbols of Transformation. Starting at the beginning sounds like a good way to get our feet firmly on the ground. Thanks for such clear thinking.

    1. Paul,

      Thank you for your comment and for joining us in this exploration. I too am looking forward to the final chapter of CW 5: ‘The Sacrifice.’ Each time I read it I am in tears. It is in that chapter that my heart opens to the eternal, but only through the labor and struggle that the entirety of Jung’s text offers. As Hegel says: “The life of God and divine intelligence, then, can, if we like, be spoken of as love disporting with itself; but this idea falls into edification, and even sinks into insipidity, if it lacks the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labour of the negative.”

      1. Labor and struggle and the negative in relation to Love/Eros? Indeed! the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.

      2. Jenna…
        I love Hegel’s remark about the need for…”the seriousness,the suffering,the patience,and the labor of the negative.” Clearly,Jung was experiencing all of that as he labored with this writing.The need to carve a distinct path from Freud’s and his approaching midlife Nekyia were definitely factors.There were indeed other vital ones at play here.This writing swims within a sea of libidinal and mythical images as did Jung at the time.His immersion into mythological studies initiated in 1909(…the same year as his last visit with Freud and his being designated ”heir apparent” of psychoanalysis.) Around this same time his relationships with several key women intensified…most prominent among those being Sabina Speilrein and Antonia Wolff.The latter relationship lasted over 42 years but Antonia was no doubt incredibly attractive at age 22 during their 1910 meeting.Sabina was more than a bit disheveled during their first meeting at the Burgholzi Mental Hospital but she was nevertheless quite attractive and passionate in the most primal sense.Given her incredible climb out of the schizophrenic hole she must have been even more fascinating/enchanting over the years.In the context of this writing I feel it’s important to note that Speilrein worked with Jung until 1912.I feel it’s also interesting to note that while Jung’s abilities to portend/diagnose were very skillful with certain others…they were also ”off-the-mark” with Ms.Frank Miller.In his zeal for knowledge and exploration Jung had clearly ignored the warning of Krafft-Ebing about care in responding subjectively to a patient.
        Now anyone familiar with Jung and his work is also aware of his capacity for dissociation.Fact is,we wouldn’t have the remarkable legacy we do without that adding to the mix.Given that,I feel it’s important to view the complex mythic and other material in this writing as more than a simple attempt to sort out his own personalities.I feel it was also a serious attempt to discriminate those key aspects of the persons he was most intimately associated with.And what better tool would there be than the cast of mythic characters?I have no interest here in the possible moral or ethical implications of Jung’s relationships.I suggest these things because it’s near impossible to untangle this incredible writing without also grasping that more than the personality of Jung was involved.Jung was a brilliant and creative man in his own right.He was also an amazing ”mockingbird” of sorts.That in no way detracts from his legacy but upon closer examination it does explain so much more.As paradox would have it Jung’s own sexual passions and deep creative interests and ambitions would play more than a small part in his attempt here to explain that there were quite a variety of ”other-than-sexual” causes for the amazing symbols and impulses that arise from the unconscious.
        Jenna,this is sure to be an exciting adventure ahead.I’ll likely be following most of it on the sidelines.Presently,my capacity for understanding is still fine but within the dark night and a state of adrenal exhaustion the short-term memory is very compromised.So yes,I can follow for awhile,but then,whatever I’ve gained seems lost.You have more than enough companions for the journey and I hope you still welcome my occasional input.Meanwhile,I’ll see if I can dig up Speilrein’s writing from 1912…”Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being.” In it’s own unique way I’m sure that will also shed more light on all this.At the very least it’s sure to expand upon Hegel’s wise remark.”Suffering is the key to the Kingdom.”(Rumi)

        1. I believe our small cast of characters in the individual and collective journey of the soul with Jenna in this blog experiment is as meaningful now as Jung’s was a century ago. Perhaps even more so now with the publishing of The Red Book and Jung giving the dead a voice. Great powers are unleashed and we are part of the struggle. Will we endure in answering the call to fulfil destiny? Where there is will, there is hope.

          1. Gary…
            I couldn’t agree more.The present cast of characters in this blog is every bit as important as was the crew during Jung’s time.To dream,imagine & share on this great common theme in cyberspace makes it so.The level of intimacy may not be quite as intense but this is another experiment altogether.And just what amount of effort we put into this will determine what does/does not gestate.In this light,just how & why we each came to Jung and became passionate about that tells a story as meaningful as those from the historical past.I’m very sure we’ll all endure the blog experience.As for fulfilling ”destiny”,that’s an entirely different matter given that destiny is seeded within,and is therefore,a very individual affair.Even so,others definitely can prompt us to explore ourselves at a deeper level.In the end however,embracing one’s fate fully is what leads to one’s destiny and that usually implies a very difficult embrace. Given that,I prefer to view our blog experience as a chosen rather than a fated encounter.I’m up to the neck inside the dialogue between fate and destiny at the moment…so I prefer the idea of small freedoms even if they are illusory.Meanwhile,wouldn’t it also be interesting to see where each of us might place ourselves within the cast of characters in Jung’s time?The great myths call us to do that so why not historical realities as well? I’m sure some would remain peripheral characters on the Jungian stage while others might find strong resonance with the original key persons.Yes or no,the grand experiment of individuation continues…and as Jung lived & recommended,the Imagination is a very vital element there.

            1. Rob Two-Hawks,
              For what it’s worth, may I share something about freedom and fate and destiny from a lecture last month by Michael Conforti, PhD, a pioneer in the field of matter-psyche studies, a practicing Jungian Analyst who spoke here last month. He opined that the difference between fate and destiny is having received a calling. Having received a calling and believing in yours as briefly described in an earlier post, I believe our freedom is focused on being faithful and true to one’s calling. Although it’s hard, a struggle, a labor and negative at times, it is a joint effort between the individual and the numinous imo. I hope this applies to all who have callings and not only disciples of Christ Jesus. ” I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of [the Lord].”

            2. Gary…
              Your words as well as the ideas of Mr.Conforti are most appreciated!It’s a mysterious wisdom that destiny is a joint effort between the individual and the numinous.This reminds me of comments by Andrew Harvey after he wrote ”The Sun at Midnight”: …”You are given tremendous divine protection,because as the human is being destroyed,the divine consciousness comes up.So one side of you is being annihilated,but the other side is stronger than ever in the ashes.”
              Meanwhile,I’m quite sure that the sacred by no means limits deep callings to just the disciples of Jesus.Gary,a few years ago I spent two grueling years self defending in criminal court.As I did I slowly drank from Michael Meade’s most recent book ”Fate and Destiny…The Two Agreements of the Soul”.As much as anything the wisdom within that helped me to stand tall and endure the many insults of false justice.If you haven’t already,I hope you’ll take a look at Meade’s book.It’s brilliant writing that clarifies fate and destiny like nothing else.Meade’s mentor Joseph Campbell would have nodded.Again,thanks for the good words.

  7. I had a dream a few nights ago that left me with the smug belief that I could avoid a flood that was about to occur because I was somehow special and exempted from the flood’s danger.

    But now I’m having second thoughts about the dream. Sure, I can possibly find a way to avoid the flood. I’ve avoided a lot of floods in my life. But the thing is, now I’ve been on a self proclaimed mission to have the courage and confidence to go into and through the flood, to take back all my projections of dragons and demons, etc., (to individuate) if you will. Life was presenting me with yet one more opportunity in the form of a dream to become whole, and yet one more time I was looking for the high (measured) path to safety.

    I want the readers of this blog to know that I am reading and using Jung as my guide. Even though he was a scientist and man of letters with world renown, he didn’t let any of that or personal fear keep him from taking a personal plunge into the deep flood of the unknown.

    Here is the dream in its entirety as I recorded it in my dream journal:

    “I am walking down a street when I realize that I am about to pass by a lake or other body of water that is about to burst through its containment walls and overflow the area where I am walking. I decide to cross over to the other side of the street to seek higher ground to avoid the deluge.

    “When I cross over I walk up a short path. At the top of the path I see a park-like valley that appears to be attentively maintained, a lot like the common grounds of the community where I live. I see an older white guy there who appears to be attending to some gardening task in his yard or maybe just in the common area along the way. He seems very much like many of the retired guys I encounter on my daily walks–friendly, middle-class, and retired military, law enforcement, or government contractor. There are two animals about that seem to be with him. The animals are anxious at my presence but don’t appear threatening. The closer animal seems to be some breed of dog. The animal farther away seems to be like no other animal I’ve ever encountered. It appears to be a composite of several animals from an earlier time period, maybe a type of mythic Cerberus creature or other tetramorph, but without a human component included.

    “I tell the guy I am looking for a a way to go to avoid the deluge. He tells me, however, that when the water overflows or breaks its walls this whole area will be flooded and there is nowhere I can go to escape it. I look back at the valley and see no water in sight, and it is hard to imagine that the water will reach this area. When I look back to the guy he and his animals have disappeared as people and things do in dreams. I survey the area again for a path I can take to avoid being overtaken by the water. As I look I think to myself that my friendly advisor may be right in this instance, but my experience has been that there is always a way forward.”

    1. Interesting that I too dreamt last night or perhaps it was a brief early morn recollection from a documentary about the Jonestown flood. The history of that flood, the guilded age, the income disparities, globalization on a smaller scale than today- I wonder if this has much to do with the heart of the soul’s journey and path.

      1. I think everything applies to the soul’s journey, although for each journey some things have more relative importance than other things and in other journeys other things have more relative importance. I recall just now a line from Nietzsche’s Zarathustra and his ‘eternal return,’ with its long lanes in every direction drawing everything to this “self same” moment eternally. 🙂

        1. Interesting. Got this from my uncle this morn
          Gustav Mahler,Symphony 3, 4th movement
          Text from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra: the “Midnight Song”
          Original German
          O Mensch! Gib Acht! Was spricht die tiefe Mitternacht? “Ich schlief, ich schlief—, aus tiefem Traum bin ich erwacht:—Die Welt ist tief, und tiefer als der Tag gedacht. Tief ist ihr Weh—, Lust—tiefer noch als Herzeleid. Weh spricht: Vergeh! Doch all’ Lust will Ewigkeit—, —will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!”
          In English
          O Man! Take heed! What says the deep midnight? “I slept, I slept—, from a deep dream have I awoken:—the world is deep, and deeper than the day has thought. Deep is its pain—, joy—deeper still than heartache. Pain says: Pass away! But all joy seeks eternity—, —seeks deep, deep eternity!”

          1. I love it, Gary! I read Thus Spake Zaruthustra (in English) over and over for over five years. It was music to my ears and medicine for my soul.

            Is this synchronicity or what? 🙂

            1. David, I opt for synchronicity with a dash of coincidence and a hint of destiny 🙂 In all seriousness though, the message from Nietzsche is of profound depth.

  8. Jenna, ditto on what Gary said above on the 22nd about being thankful for your generosity with your time and being the person you are, which is wonderful. 🙂

  9. Friends,
    It was nice to read all of the wonderful conversations that took place here over the past few days. Some lovely thoughts and comments were offered, inspiring me as I was writing yesterday. I am thankful to be co-reading ‘Symbols of Transformation’ with you.

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