No one who strives for selfhood…is spared this dangerous passage, for that which is feared also belongs to the wholeness of the self.
Jung, CW 11 ¶ 849
In the long winding path to becoming oneself there are dangerous passages where monsters lurk. For those who are called by spirit, such monsters may wear the face of early experiences with institutional religion. Jung, for example, struggled with the lifeless Protestant theology which entrapped his father, a pastor. Jung had to face the dangerous passage of allowing taboo images to crush his father’s church before he could begin to claim his own spiritual experience.
In this lecture I will share some of my own pilgrimage, its dangerous passages, with Jung as my guide. As is my fashion, I will weave in poetry, dreams, a journey to a sacred place, and a conversation with a ghost.
1. To facilitate understanding of how early institutional religious training can be an obstacle to the development of the spiritual aspects of psyche.
2. To demonstrate how the Jungian practices of Active Imagination and Dream Work can facilitate an authentic relationship to spirit and soul.
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is an analyst member of the San Francisco Jung Institute and poetry editor of Psychological Perspectives. She is the co-editor, with Patricia Damery, of Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way. She has authored four poetry collections, and won the Blue Light Poetry Prize for her chapbook, The Little House on Stilts Remembers. A collection of her essays, The Rabbi, the Goddess and Jung: Getting the Word from Within, was published last year.