Tag Archives: Marion Woodman

Friendship: the Anima Problem

Black Madonna

Excerpted from Ken Warren’s notes for Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, a program presented by Ken and Stephen Calhoun at The C.G. Jung Center of the Analytical Psychology Center of Western New York in December 2014.

How might you overcome your isolation by gauging yourself in universal modes of polarities? Understand yourself and your significant other in relationship through the elemental forces that govern your grasping, your flow state, your burn rate, and your high tides.

How can you make an account of your motivations, emotions, cognitions, and behaviors as a reflection of this self-concept that might be shared with a partner?

And how love is a personal; mythic seizure. To scale up or scale down. Ways for re-setting your register, your seizure, your throttle.

How we generate interdependent knowledge – felt thought constructive of relationship, of love, respect, fulfillment through a ‘we’ unit.

Self-creation through elemental humors in the face of another? How does one accelerate the movement toward cooperation, development, and love with another, while not allowing, in existential terms, any mental image of polarity or elemental humor to dominate your psychic process?

Do you have the audacity to attempt to master them all through your magical thinking?

Symmetry/polarity is a chancy, facetious, unstable and fluctuating process that generates claims, names, illusions, interventions, and excuses. Hence the human tendency to lock-down a mental image of character, habit, and predictability.

The flux of mind is sometimes creative and positive and sometimes evaluative and negative. Unable to master the complete archetypal ensemble, we fall somewhere between the always right and never right. Held between both in our mundane bleacher seats we glimpse heaven of not knowing and hell of knowing.

Out of self, world and action process comes: Self-knowledge, Self-reflection, Self-conception, Self-control. Out of polarization we build reflective capacity. We charter a myth for our ego that links experience to expectation.

In the polarization there is cunning, maneuvering, and negotiation.

Bifurcation allows eros and logos to create our lives and myths in the face of the other.

What are your foundational, informing, assumptions about your own nature?

Ken and I spoke about a wide range of subjects over the years, yet there were but a handful of organizing fields for all the more particularized–what we termed–circuits. We both discovered from the start we both were profoundly interested in what makes: people, ourselves, each other, and groups of people tick.

The most personal organizing field we discussed regularly was what we called, The Anima Problem. We had an idiosyncratic definition for this–anyway–non normative term, a term itself taken from the Analytical Psychology.

The Anima Problem encompasses everything that a man does to animate his deep essential beingness by way of his relatedness to, and relationships with, all the specific women in his life–and do this for the sake of attentively grasping the necessary actualizations given to him by his fears and his hopes.

(This triangulation of depth, relationship, and, negative/positive aspirations poses a concomitant third order: the internal feminine/masculine is enjoined with the external feminine/masculine.)

At first, Ken grappled with this second piece, as it was my first cybernetic instigation. Of great and necessary interest to us in discussing this subject was our family history, our very different Mother Complexes, our romantic history, and our romantic history.

And then, cybernetically speaking, there were also all the elemental and abductive channels, or courses for, feedback between, betwixt, entangled with, embedded into, fused with, the flux of our male life, living, feminine and masculine. He and I knew from almost the beginning that this organizing field with its found and conjured and coherent and creative and confounding circuitry would be among our main concerns.

Early on there came the two conversations in which we let some of the sutures fall away. We understood early on our friendship was necessary soul work too. Being the much more immature person, the ‘card-carrying puer aeturnus,’ I hoped Ken would be okay when he came to learn, as he did come to learn, about the several–as Marion Woodman puts it–brutal realizations. As it all came together, this crucial decade-long interrogatory, Ken was over and over again compassionate and present.


Jungian medicine man James Hollis enters the following excerpt from poet Muguel de Unamuno:

Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit. . . .
Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and. . .
don’t turn your face for that would be to turn it to death,
and do not let the past weigh down your motion.

Leave what’s alve in the furrow, what’s dead in yourself,
for life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds,
from your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.

(Throw yourself like seed, excerpt taken from James Hollis, Under Saturn’s Shadow The Wounding and Healing of Men, pg132)



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Filed under adult learning, analytic(al) psychology, Kenneth Warren, psychology, self-knowledge

Jung – God Is Fate Its Self

C.G. Jung

Synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers. I define synchronicity as a psychically conditioned relativity of time and space. ~ C. G. Jung

Over the past few years, as I’ve been drilling into the phenomena of constitutive fortuity, I’ve set in the background Carl Jung’s conception of synchronicity. As concept it shares background space with each and every rationale pertinent to how people explain fortuity, or, in common parlance, serendipity. I’ve set myself to catalog these explanatory rationales.

Even deeper in the background is my own investigation of Jung’s opus, and, along with his work, much of the development one discovers in taking in the larger opus of Analytic Psychology. Given my intense curiosity about the nature of humans, Jung has earned an investment on my part second to none, and first, in the top rank, against only Gregory Bateson and Thelonious Monk and Rumi. Yet, I’m not at all a so-called Jungian.

But, this is also the least of it. This in retrospect, and this would be retrospectively in looking backward toward my mid-life crisis/carnival twenty years ago. At that time, the decade the dream journal marked; the stoned slog through the literature and poetry; the deployment of the falling symbolic bones; and staggering synchronic encounters; added up as an elegant lantern and wholly useful map of my own inner territory. Oh, and much was unbidden and terrifying too.

This is different than the numerous other cases, each of which falsifies the global Jungian premises. (My own case verified my own case!) In short, individuation cannot exclusively be a matter of running only the Jungian model. This being the case, psyche is obviously much more ‘pleromatic’ than Jung was able to either conceive of, let alone encompass, in his decidedly looking-to-the-19th century system. Still, be that as it may, the Analytic Psychology is a very fine, and refined, autopoietic ‘constructivistic’ framework and methodology, and naturally lending itself to the aspirational, artistic, soulful, yin temperament.

As my pal Alice O. Howell put it, it’s about squaring the circle and relativizing the ego. She also pointed out God is a verb–a spectacular and sharp modernization of Jung; and, this goes along with the Jungian Brewster Beach’s pointed naming of the stone, God Is Fate.

However, in noting this, it was moments after my mid-life crisis had turned into a mode of grown-a-bit receptivity to friendship and love, that I had an enlightening aperçu, brought on by realizing I wasn’t living in a Jungian cosmos. The cost levied wasn’t any fall at all, instead was an appreciation that as the marabout proffers, there are infinite ways to journey home.

As a practical matter, my indebtedness is mostly to Marion Woodman. (Carl Gustav Jung ended his worldly journey June 1, 1961.)

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