Denise Grobbelaar:

Mapping the Psyche

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

But what happens when the stories we choose to live by lead us down dark and treacherous paths? The Netflix series “The Last Airbender" offers a compelling example of this question through the character of Admiral Zhao and his unrelenting pursuit of becoming a legend by slaying the Moon Spirit.

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Archetypes, Fairy Tales, Movies, Series & Books, Story & Narrative (Personal mythology)

Carl Jung astutely observed the tendency of human beings to unwittingly perpetuate their own suffering while remaining oblivious to the root causes within themselves. Despite externalizing blame onto the world, the true origins of these narratives lie within the unconscious.

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Shadow

Jung believed that the psyche operates as a self-regulating system, akin to the body, aiming to maintain internal stability amidst external influences. This equilibrium involves a balance between polarities wherein the psyche integrates unconscious elements like archetypes and complexes into conscious awareness. Through self-discovery and transformation, a process Jung termed ‘individuation’, individuals seek to manifest their unique potential and achieve inner harmony, fostering a sense of wholeness.

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Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey), Psyche, The Unconscious

Animal visitations in our dreams represent archetypal patterns and qualities unique to their species; thus, each animal carries an essence that we need to inquire about to understand the dream's message beyond our personal associations...

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Animal Symbolism, Dreams

In the modern world, where urban and technological landscapes often overshadow the natural world, there is an ever-increasing disconnect between humanity and the environment that sustains us. The consequences of this detachment are far-reaching, impacting on the very essence of our well-being. Jung saw our relationship with nature as essential to the development of consciousness and wholeness (Sabini 2001). Jung stated that in the “civilization process, we have increasingly divided our consciousness from the deeper instinctive strata of the human psyche” (Jung, 1964, 36).

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Consciousness, Earth & Nature, Ecopsychology, Indigenous Worldviews

Carl Jung's concept of the archetype of the Self is a complex idea of embodied consciousness, symbolizing unity between body, mind, and soul. It directs us to explore and integrate the various parts of our psyche while maintaining a homeostatic balance, and serves as a guiding force on the journey of individuation.

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Archetype of the Self, Archetypes, Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey), Psyche

Kriya is a form of pranayama (the yogic practice of focusing on breath), the practice of controlling life energy (prana). By harnessing and directing our life force, we gain greater control over the mind's ceaseless fluctuations, allowing us to become masters of our thoughts. Through Kriya, one can revitalize the subtle currents of prana in the spine and brain, leading to heightened consciousness and personal evolution.

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Breathwork, Personal Journey

According to Jung the collective unconscious is a reservoir of shared, universal experiences and symbolic imagery that all humans inherit, regardless of upbringing. In a metaphorical sense, one can see archetypes as source codes, signifying the deep and fundamental patterns that underlie human consciousness and our interconnectedness with the natural world.

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Archetypes

‘Conscious relating’ emphasizes self-awareness, authenticity, genuine understanding, mutual respect, and growth within relationships. Viewed through a Jungian framework, this requires a willingness and commitment to engage in introspection and self-exploration. This doesn't mean relinquishing personal boundaries or merging identities, but rather recognizing that by understanding our own motivations, fears, and desires, we can communicate more honestly and openly with our partners. This level of vulnerability fosters a safe environment where authentic connecting can flourish. Relationships then become a container for the journey of individuation while meeting our need for emotional attachment.

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Anima & Animus, Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey), Relationships, Shadow

The Feminine encompasses a diverse tapestry of archetypal representations. In myths, literature, and art, the feminine is embodied as the muse inspiring creativity, the crone imparting wisdom, and the seductress representing the allure of mystery and sensuality. From nurturing mother figures to dark goddesses symbolizing destruction, these varied and dynamic depictions of the feminine allows for a deeper understanding of human consciousness.

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Masculine & Feminine

The circle is a powerful and widely recognized symbol that represents wholeness, unity, and the eternal cyclical nature of life. It signifies the interconnection and interdependence of all things, associated with infinity, harmony, and balance. Circles also hold symbolism of protection, completeness, and the rhythmic patterns of nature. Furthermore, circles represent community, equality, and spirituality in various traditions.

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Archetypes, Symbolism

A complex can’t be reasoned with. When it is activated, it will play out the dynamics of its programming in the world. There is no objective reality from the perspective of a complex. It operates from the original wounding...

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Anima & Animus, Complexes, Movies, Series & Books

Not all communications use language. The psyche uses the body to communicate dissociated emotional experiences. The body remembers everything that ever happened to us. The human body is a carrier of trauma, unfinished business, unlived potentials, deep psychological insights, and sacred meanings.

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Embodiment (Body)

The word narcissism is so easily thrown around these days, but is the wounding and vulnerability that lies underneath this pattern really understood? We should look at it as a continuum. We need healthy narcissism to manifest our creative endeavours in the world - Freud spoke about primary narcissism of young children which is a healthy natural expression of Self, not indicative of a problem, but needs to be mirrored by the caregivers of the child. Narcissistic personality disorder is caused by a severe early injury to healthy self-love or self-esteem, where this healthy narcissism has been damaged.

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Archetype of the Self, Impact Of Childhood Experiences (Core wounds)

Dream analysis and intuition (umbillini) is central to divination in the African traditional healers’ perspective as much as it is also the focus during Jungian Analysis. Within the context of African cosmology, the traditional healer's calling includes an understanding of the role of the ancestors, the causes of illnesses and the use of dreams, symbols, and rituals in the healing process. Jung’s theory encompasses the collective unconscious which is populated by archetypes. Jung believes the symbolic mode to be the cornerstone of mythological images, which are complex structures consisting of different aspects.

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Indigenous Worldviews, Shamanism

We have learnt, actually we have been encouraged, not to notice certain things that shaped our mental filtering systems and created our world views. One of the things the western world learnt not to see is the energetic world around us...

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Breathwork, The 'field'

Within spaciousness, formlessness spawns form, darkness sparks light, and silence resonates sound… Spaciousness, appearing as form, light and sound, spawns seeds of the imagination...The primal wound opens...

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Creativity & Imagination, Inspiration (Book Extracts)

Individuation is what Carl Jung called the process of lifelong psychological development with a person moving closer to a sense of wholeness, uniqueness, authenticity, self-knowledge, and fuller realization of inner potentials. The purpose of individuation is to achieve a state of unified consciousness as an individual, integrating all parts of the self, conscious and unconscious.

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Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey)

An ancient symbol for humanity, doves represent peace, love, gentleness, and serenity. Dove encounters such as these may represent joy, happiness, calmness, hope and healing...

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Animal Symbolism

The stories we tell ourselves shape our lives in powerful ways. Our narratives about who we are and our place in the world dictate our life experiences; not necessarily what happens to us, but how we interpret events, our roles in what unfolded and what future may lie ahead for us. These stories are not merely thought up by our minds, but originate deep in our psyche...

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Story & Narrative (Personal mythology)

Soul is the organizing principle of life, the ‘connective tissue’ of the world and the source of creativity, vitality, joy and profound meaning. Michael Meade states: “Soul is the glue of the world and the connecting principle of life . . . [it] connects us to things that are deep and abiding in the world and in our own lives. The depths of soul contain the vitality of life, the core powers of imagination, and the ancient inheritance of humanity.” If we have a deep connection to our souls, we can live in a kind of spontaneous freedom manifesting as an honest expression of our authentic selves in harmony with Nature and Spirit.

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Soul, Trauma

Myths and stories throughout the ages and across the world tell tales of heroes and heroines who survive the ordeals of impossible tasks given to them or perhaps having to fight dragons, but hopefully coming home with the treasure. The hero’s journey is a dynamic process that can serve as a conceptual metaphor for understanding individual development where each major transitionary life event serves as a call to step into an initiatory experience.

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Archetypes, Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey)

The Greek word Gnosis (γνῶσις) implies genuine knowledge of the truth. Underlying this is the premise that in order to understand truth, one must experience it. Gnosis refers to authentic knowledge from direct transcendent experiences which are beyond the five senses and the logical mind, often in the form of visionary experiences. A person’s own efforts to expand their consciousness can lead to such experiences of truth which form the basis of a personal spirituality, rather than being taught a belief system by an external figure. Gnosis can also refer to the wisdom traditions that embody the collective knowledge of humanity. This knowledge was not envisioned as a rational scientific knowledge or philosophy, but rather as a knowing that arises in the heart in an intuitive and mysterious manner.

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Gnosis, Visionary experiences

Jungian Analyst, Robert Bosnak describes dreams as the genius of creative imagination. They are mystery in constant motion and we generally only touch the surface of these vast internal spaces. You can work with a dream for hours, yet always more to understand. Dreams are not a still life image. According to Stephen Aizenstat dreams are living presences originating from the deeper intelligence of the psyche.

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Dreams