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In his book America’s God, evangelical theologian Mark Noll explains the “tragedy of a God defined by American conventions” that “would in the Civil War trivialize the Christian theology that had brought Christian civilization into existence.” In Answer to Job, Jung writes about St. John the Divine, author of the Book of Revelation: “What burst upon him is the storm of the times, premonition of a tremendous enantiodromia.” Our quest tonight is to discern some of the archetypal configurations of the
“tremendous enantiodromia” of “a God defined by American conventions.” The story begins seventy years ago with my spiritual upbringing in a Southern Baptist church in rural northeastern Tennessee, and then it expands through the hauntings of my ancestors. The story arrives in the third decade of the 21st century with reckonings of the religious, social, and political crisis (Greek, “a decisive turning point in
a disease”) and cataclysm (Greek, “a deluge, flood, inundation”) that is now taking place in America.
The study of lives and the care of souls means above all a prolonged
encounter with what destroys and is destroyed, with what is broken and
hurts… For what happens to our culture is what happens to our culture, our individual fantasies and images, whether we moralize and repress them, diagnose and imprison them, exploit and betray them, drug and mock them. The soul of our civilization depends upon the civilization of our soul. The imagination of our culture calls for a culture of the imagination .
We continue discussing Hillman’s landmark work of archetypal psychology.
I paint from Irish literature. Five years ago, I painted six paintings from Ulysses by James Joyce. As the 2020 lockdowns began, the James Joyce Center in Dublin asked to use my painting of Molly Bloom to cheer them all up (!?) as their beloved Bloomsday celebration went virtual. This spring, a Joyce scholar purchased an image for his newly published book cover. Jung and Joyce were highly aware of each other. Trying to sail tiny boats on the immense sea of the unconscious, using very different gifts. Joyce pleaded with Jung to see his daughter Lucia, and Jung reluctantly agreed. He met with Lucia once for an initial consultation, at which point Jung diagnosed her as paranoid schizophrenic, told Joyce he could not work with her, and recommended Joyce admit Lucia to a sanitarium. Joyce refused to take Jung’s advice, but eventually had to commit Lucia.
For me, Joyce is like geraniums—I don’t exactly like him, but he keeps showing up anyway.
From the back cover—
In this seminal work Jung describes the psychology of the transference in terms of the symbolism of alchemy and the illustration to the ‘Rosarium philosophorum.’
We are discussing Jung’s interpretation of the Rosarium philosophorum, a set of twenty wood block prints from the 16th century, with perspectives of a practicing alchemist and others. While there are twenty prints, Jung limited his discussion to the first ten; by analyzing all twenty perhaps it is possible to discover why, and also to gain additional insight into alchemical processes with a broader understanding of the individuation process and the purposes of alchemy.